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W W W . T A L K B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E . C O . U K





August 2013 ÂŁ4.50

Life of Pi

Protect your rep

First impressions

Eben Upton on changing the world with the Raspberry Pi

The companies who can clean up your online identity

We cover hot spots and fashion in our new image section

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ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT Why booking your own hotel accommodation online is a false economy for SMEs The abundance of hotel booking websites such as Trivago, and laterooms.com has led many SMEs to think that they will get a better room rate for business trips if they book their own hotel accommodation online. Or companies frequently assume that by booking direct on a specific hotel’s website, they will avoid additional fees and save money on corporate accommodation. According to specialist SME travel management company Corporate Traveller, in most cases going down the DIY route is a false economy. What seems like a short term win can translate into a huge amount of missed savings in the long run. Corporate Traveller’s research has identified that one in three business travellers need to amend their hotel booking before arrival. Often the cheaper rates available through online agents are nonchangeable and non-refundable. Companies might think that they have saved £15 by booking direct on a non-flex rate, but if business travel plans change, they will be unable to alter the booking and will lose the whole amount. Rates via a hotel booking site may look cheaper, but SMEs also need to consider what extras they are paying for in expenses during the actual stay. Travel management companies (TMCs) have built strong relationships with leading hotel chains, from budget to luxury, enabling them to negotiate the best room rates which also include extras such as free wifi and breakfast.

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A recent cost comparison by Corporate Traveller showed that a room rate of £90 sourced by one of the their travel managers was ultimately better value than the rate of £80 offered by a hotel booking site for a similar hotel in the same location. Corporate Traveller’s £90 rate included wifi and breakfast, plus the hotel was within walking distance of the client’s meeting; whereas on top of the £80 rate offered by the hotel agent, the client still had to pay £15 for breakfast and £15 for wifi on check-out, plus a £9 taxi fare because the hotel wasn’t close to the meeting venue – making an overall total of £119. The best way for SMEs to reduce their per-night spend on hotel accommodation is to ask their TMC to set up a hotel programme which mandates bookings in one or two properties per location. Many SMEs assume that their annual spend on accommodation is insufficient to warrant hotels giving a special rate. However, companies only need to be booking around 50 room nights per year in one location to trigger a discounted deal. Even if an SME doesn’t have significant volumes in one location, instead using hotels across a diverse number of cities or countries, their TMC should still be able to negotiate a hotel chain discount. “It seems an obvious cost saving exercise, as by placing the bulk of your bookings with a handful of hotels, those hotels are more like to offer you a discounted rate,” explains Graeme Milne, general

manager Corporate Traveller UK. “Yet you would be amazed at how many clients have no mandatory hotel programme in place. “The savings we made recently for a fashion industry client were around £3,000 per annum. The client was booking 120 room nights per year in Delhi. The average hotel rate in Delhi is £167 per room per night, but we negotiated this down to £142,” added Milne. Another factor to consider when booking via an online agent is that the guest will be perceived by the hotel as a leisure traveller, rather staying on business. That means you are more likely to be allocated the worst room, near the lift shaft or above the kitchens. You may also be put in a single room, whereas corporate bookings are often given ‘double for single occupancy’. Safety has always been an important aspect of business travel, but after a spate of terrorist attacks and natural disasters, traveller security has become even more of an issue. In the event of an emergency SMEs need to be able to track their employees quickly. This visibility is only possible when flights and accommodation have all been booked through one central source. “By bringing all your hotel bookings together under one TMC, you will know where your people are immediately. If you have booked independently online, it’s a different story,” concludes Graeme Milne.

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iNSIDE 11 Editor’s letter

12 Contributors & letters 15 News & events



TALK strategy 51 The branding column Rich With

Talk image

53 Be seen and shared Facebook

93 First impressions Introduction to the new image section

56 Go to town More than shopping

94 Look the business Summer smart/casual fashion

61 The sales doctor Solving your sales problems

98 Hot spots Locations for SMEs

62 Ask a question Adam Caplan

101 We love… A few favourites


talk technology

65 The marketing column Kimberly Davis

103 Our man in the Valley David Richards’ tech column

66 Seven wonders of the world wide web Social media personalities

105 Be more than a browser Internet data

70 Chatting to the top dog The personal touch

TALK Success

72 Colour me right Colour psychology

18 Take a byte Founder of Raspberry Pi, Eben Upton

75 Likes & follows = profit Social media

26 Take one company Crafter’s Companion

talk people

29 Introducing… TB grills a young up-and-comer

79 The people column Lee McQueen

31 Take ten Personal problems

81 A bad gamble Employee risks

33 Book reviews

82 Secret diary of an entrepreneur A week in the life of the Create a Craft Business founder

138 He said/she said What are our entrepreneurs saying this month?

talk MONEY

86 People power Best practice

35 What guarantee? Personal guarantees

89 Bending backwards Flexible working

39 Bootstrapping success Self-funding

91 How important is networking? Business Junction

40 Software vs. Online Payroll solutions 42 What about the bank? Different funding

110 The erasable era Online reputation 113 I’ve got an app for that… Our favourite business apps 114 Nokia vs. HTC This month’s best smartphones

TALK FRANCHISE 117 Franchise news 119 Spotlight Mr Electric 122 Take one franchisee Go-Kart Party, Claudio Galdes 125 Imbalance in the workplace Equal office

talk aDVICE 128 Kyocera 131 HR Insight 134 Marstan Group


136 Talk Business Directory

46 A day in the life Diary of a Start-Up Loan recipient 49 Before you sign on the dotted line… Legal agreements

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editor’s letter

Look your best everywhere

Scan this QR code to subscribe to Talk Business


Dawn Murden dawn.murden@astongreenlake.com


Paul Christopher Daniels paul.daniels@astongreenlake.com Heather Rugeley heather.rugeley@astongreenlake.com

WEB DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Mitchell Finlay mitchell.finlay@astongreenlake.com

here’s no doubt that the internet and social media has changed the way we communicate. It’s opened up the world; almost anything is accessible at the click of a button. But the opportunities technology can bring are hard to come by if we don’t know how to use it properly. Eben Upton believes we should be creators of technology, not mere users. That’s why he designed the credit-card sized Raspberry Pi microcomputer to encourage all generations to learn programming. Read his interview on page 18.



Scott Hartley scott.hartley@astongreenlake.com

SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Damien Ward damien.ward@astongreenlake.com


Trystan Hurley trystan.hurley@astongreenlake.com

MANAGING DIRECTOR Jay Boisvert jay@astongreenlake.com

Circulation/subscriptions: UK £40, EUROPE £60, REST OF WORLD £95 Circulation enquiries: Aston Greenlake Publishing Ltd T: 0203 617 4680

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Talk Business is published 12 times a year by Aston Greenlake Publishing Ltd. Floor 8, 6 Mitre Passage Peninsula Central Greenwich, London SE10 0ER T:02036174681



August 2013 £4.50

©Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

It would be great if we were all technology experts, but because most business owners don’t have time to learn everything, this issue, our digital special is jam-packed with useful advice and tips. Turn to page 105 to learn how to use online data and see page 53 to master the perfect business tool: Facebook. For those who already have their online presence sorted, have you checked your virtual reputation lately? Google yourself, and you might find a bad review. But don’t fret; read about the companies who’ll erase those black marks for good on page 110. It’s not just online where you have to look you best. Have you ever judged a client or customer by what they were wearing? Well, they were doing the same thing. It takes just three seconds to form an impression subconsciously and many businesses fail to project the perfect image. That should be a thing of the past with our new TALK IMAGE section from page 93. Take care of business for now.

No part of Talk Business may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the editor. Talk Business will make every effort to return picture material, but it is sent at owner’s risk.


Due to the nature of the printing process, images can be subject to a variation of up to 15 per cent, therefore Aston Greenlake Publishing Ltd cannot be held responsible for such variation.

Dawn Murden, Editor


Life of Pi

Protect your rep

First impressions

Eben Upton on changing the world with the Raspberry Pi

The companies who can clean up your online identity

We cover hot spots and fashion in our new image section

This month’s cover was designed by Radio, a creative studio based in Cape Town, South Africa.



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Contributors & LETTERS

our online elite


Eben Upton is cofounder and trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity with a commercial subsidiary that designs small and affordable microcomputers for children. Eben hopes the credit-card sized computer will encourage children all over the world to learn programming. The company turns over £2 million, and 1.5 million people – adults and children – are already using the microcomputer worldwide. Eben currently works at Broadcom and has previously worked at IBM and Intel.

James Kirkham is global head of social and mobile at Leo Burnett. The worldwide advertising company was launched in 1935 in Chicago and its first two major advertising projects were for Kellogg’s and Procter and Gamble. James is also founder of Holler, a creative agency that gets people talking about brands though engagement. He is a highly respected commentator on the digital marketing industry, speaking regularly at conferences including The Guardian Changing Media Summit.

Drew Benvie is managing director and founder of Battenhall, a social media agency that works with clients on PR, social media, and consumer and business communication. He is former CEO of Hotwire, founder of 33 Digital and wrote the Wikipedia page on social media. He was also the UK’s number one respected practitioner in New Media Age’s 2011 Reputation Online report. He’s a regular commentator in the media and has had articles published in The Huffington Post and PR Week.

Radio started as a creative collaboration between Byron Meiring and Gert Schoeman, and grew into a fully functioning studio by 2011. Based in Cape Town, its studio is housed within an old brewery, located between Table Mountain and the harbour.   Radio have worked with a variety of brands and advertising agencies from around the globe, inlcuding Orange, Bloomberg and Toyota. They specialise in illustration, iconography and typography.

Turn to page 18 to read about Eben and what inspired the Raspberry Pi.

Read his article on online reputation on page 110.

Turn to page 66 to read his seven typical social media personalities.

Radio designed our front cover this month. For more information about Radio visit madebyradio.com


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If you’d like to send us your thoughts about Talk Business, or anything else that’s happening on the SME scene, just get in touch: email: dawn.murden@astongreenlake.com snail mail: Aston Greenlake, 6 Mitre Passage, 8th floor, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0ER

This month we’ve inspired two of our readers to launch a new business and an app. Keep the praise coming, but if you have any suggestions don’t be shy and let us know

Battling for employment Hi Talk Business team, I’ve visited your website a number of times and I think that you offer some great advice and tips when it comes to careers and job opportunities. Given the current economic climate, jobs are becoming harder to come by and it’s a shame to see talented people unemployed. I sincerely hope that governments around the world start to address this situation and look to create more jobs. Thanks for your time, Georgina Stamp Office manager, Marble Hill Partners

Entrepreneur inspiration


Dear editor, I absolutely loved reading about Charlie Mullins and his business Pimlico Plumbers [Reaching that pipe dream, July]. He came across as a normal, down to earth man. It’s amazing that he just wanted to be a plumber and now he owns a multi-million pound company. He didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur and yet he’s been so successful. I’ve always wanted to launch my own business but haven’t known where to start. After reading the inspirational stories and advice in Talk Business over the last few months, I’m finally ready to follow my dream. Thanks for the inspiration, Matthew Williams

It’s ‘appening

Dear Dawn, The app monetisation article you ran [Dawn of the dead, July] was insightful. As an SME owner I’ve felt pressure to launch a shiny new app but I’ve refrained because I believe that the marketplace is overcrowded. I don’t know much about technology and wouldn’t feel comfortable launching an app on our own. It’s good to know there are companies like Fiksu out there armed with expertise and glowing testimonials to help - I think I’m finally ready to launch our app. Kind regards, Kerri Stringer

Tweets 0F the month... @steveptodd Can’t wait for #mountpendo networking on the slopes! Sponsored by @talkbusinessmag. Minimal tickets left! http://tinyurl.com/ m4q2nmd #BiziTalk @BrynPowell Check out @TalkBusinessMag for an exclusive interview with me about my business @ContainersLdn. http://goo. gl/2yDFC p29! #business @bizloanservices @TalkBusinessMag Reading your magazine for the first time. Great content with practical ideas and tips for growing businesses. @Goldgenie Goldgenie CEO Laban Roomes featured in this month’s @TalkBusinessMag @PimlicoPlumbers Really enjoyed speaking to @TalkBusinessMag @BigredboxPR @TalkBusinessMag can I just say how much I enjoyed reading this month’s mag. Chocablock with relevant info. Thanks guys. @SaraDaviesCC Just had a fab chat with @DawnMurden from @TalkBusinessMag - we got on like a total house on fire! Poor woman- I did talk her to death though!


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Dates for the diary Business Junction networking events 8 August The Roof Gardens, Kensington 14 August Freemasons’ Hall, Covent Garden 22 August The Happenstance, St Paul’s businessjunction.co.uk/events ad:tech 11-12 September Olympia, London ad-techlondon.co.uk The Sterling Integrity Show 13 September The Future Inn Hotel, Bristol 27 September Sixways Stadium, Worcester sterlingintegrity.co.uk

eCommerce Awards 2 October Marriot Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London ecommerceexpo.co.uk/page. cfm/link=250

The Spain Start-up and Investor Summit October 2013 Date & venue TBC spain-startup.com

eCommerce Expo 2-3 October Olympia, London ecommerceexpo.co.uk

Kent 2020 Vision Start-Up Live 23 October Kent Event Centre, Maidstone kent2020startup.co.uk

Successful Selling Expo 17 October RICOH, Coventry sales-expo.co.uk

Telecoms tech world 26-27 November Olympia, London telecomstechworld.com

Apps World 22-23 October Earls Court, London apps-world.net/Europe

The Business Show 28-29 November Olympia, London www.greatbritish businessshow.co.uk

Students missing SME employment opportunities JUST ONE IN eight (12%) of university students would pick working for an SME as their top career choice, according to a survey carried out by Santander UK. This is despite the fact that UK SMEs are responsible for more than 59% of private sector employment and that a quarter of graduates are employed by an SME. The top choices from current students were to continue their education (26%), work for a large corporation (16%), and 16% wanted to pursue a career in the public sector. To help promote the benefits and opportunities of working for an SME, Santander is expanding its internship programme run by its Santander Universities Global Division.

Since its launch in 2012, the scheme has placed 532 students from the country’s top universities on three-month internships with SMEs across the UK. Due to its success, Santander Universities is trebling the size of the programme. Luis Juste, director of Santander Universities UK, said: ‘Our specialist team works very closely with 66 universities throughout the UK. ‘Together we are passionate about helping students and graduates gain employment in these difficult times.  ‘It’s great to see that working for an SME is the number one career choice for one in eight of those polled, but we believe this could, and should, be significantly higher.’


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Half of business owners could be missing out on VAT savings

Micro-businesses losing thousands through missed calls MICRO-BUSINESSES ARE LOSING over £3,300 a year each, through missed new business calls according to research commissioned by Penelope, a call handling solution for small businesses. It asked 2,000 businesses about their phone habits. Respondents outlined they received more than 20 calls, and that 9% of those calls are new business enquires. Despite many business owners admitting to answering calls while

at weddings, funerals and in the bathroom, the survey found they miss an average of seven calls a day. A new business lead was found to be worth an average of £102. ‘When it comes to attracting and winning business, responsiveness is everything,’ Ed Reeves, co-founder of Penelope said. ‘A consumer is unlikely to chase a business to buy something from them; it’s far more likely that they will simply call someone else.’

A STUDY BY software provider, Sage revealed more than half (52%) of business owners think they are missing out on VAT. They also estimated they are losing approximately £500 every year by not claiming for everything they are entitled to. All businesses that turn over more than £79,000 each year need to be VAT-registered, however due to the complexities of VAT, nearly 30% of the 1,000 business owners surveyed suggested that a deeper understanding of VAT would help their firm become more profitable. Lee Perkins, managing director of Sage’s small business division said: ‘Businesses that aren’t claiming back the VAT they are entitled to are really putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage. ‘Despite being around for 40 years, the ever-changing nature of VAT has put many business owners off from digging into VAT and fully understanding what can be refunded.’

Bibby calls for funding to help businesses UK CEO OF Bibby Financial Services, David Postings has approached the Government and Bank of England asking for a review of how lending schemes operate, to enable non-bank lenders to compete. This follows the news that RBS is to launch a review of its lending to businesses after uncovering £20 billion in untapped cash. David Postings warns that schemes


such as Funding for Lending are not set up to enable alternative providers to access available funds, which threatens to suffocate growth in 2013. ‘The news that RBS has an abundance of cash comes as no real surprise as the banks are extremely risk averse and too often decline funding applications,’ David Postings said. ‘As a result, Government lending channelled through banks has not been reaching

businesses as the banks are only lending to those at the safer end of the spectrum. ‘But these aren’t necessarily the businesses that require funding the most, so there is an element of cherry-picking going on.’ Bibby also carried out a study of 1,000 UK SME managers, which revealed 51% felt the UK had not become a better place to run a business since the coalition Government took its approach on reviving the economy.


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Most families have a home computer, but they wouldn’t want their children messing around with the circuit board

Take a byte Eben Upton is on a mission to turn future generations into technology experts. Dawn Murden finds out how the executive director of Raspberry Pi is changing the default



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his issue we’re exploring how technology has changed the world for SMEs, so I jumped at the chance to meet Eben Upton. He’s the brain behind Raspberry Pi; a £16 ($25) credit card-sized single-board computer of the same name, created to put computer science in the hands of future generations. While studying for a PhD in 2006, Eben noticed the falling numbers of students enrolling on computer science courses. He found kids were still messing about on computers, but not with them. No longer were they taking apart circuit boards, hacking and writing programs; instead they were making PowerPoint presentations and writing hourly statuses on Facebook. Children had lost interest in the science behind the technology. Perhaps the dot-com bust had killed their enthusiasm, or maybe the technology had become so high-tech and perfected they didn’t feel the need to fiddle with it. But for Eben there were two key reasons this had happened. In the 1980s when he and his colleagues were growing up, they had computers like the Amiga, Commodore 64, and the BBC Micro. Eben learned most of his basic computer science knowledge on the line of Acorn computers built for the British


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Broadcasting Corporation, that were installed in most English schools. ‘There are no computers like that anymore,’ Eben told me. ‘Most families have a home computer but they wouldn’t want their children messing around with the circuit board.’ And in schools, Eben found IT didn’t teach pupils much more than how to enter data into spreadsheets or simple web design. Having worked at both IBM and Intel, and being a hardware man at heart, Eben built the Raspberry Pi; a stripped down device, which would enable users to get into the guts of computers. A device allowing kids and adults of any age, from any country, an affordable opportunity to create programs and get to grips with technology. Around the globe 1.5 million people are already using the simple circuit board, which has a USB port to connect a keyboard and mouse. Like the Amiga or Commodore 64, the device connects to a TV, or a DVI monitor. ‘I want to change the world,’ Eben said. ‘But we don’t claim to have all the answers, and we actively encourage other companies to clone what we’re doing.’ The device is the main initiative of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity that promotes the teaching of computer science in schools.

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How did you come up with the idea for Raspberry Pi? While studying a PhD in computer science at Cambridge University in 2006, my colleagues and I became concerned with the small number of people studying the subject. And those who had come to study knew very little about programming, so we had to spend the first year doing remedial teaching. They didn’t grow up with the Amiga and Commodore 64 like we did. At school, pupils were learning the basics in Word or Excel, but not programming, and there was nothing on the market to make up for this. We wanted to combat this by launching a foundation that would launch educational initiatives (like a cheap computer), for both adults and children so they could learn programming. How did you get your start-up cash? We intended to be conventional and would make and ship the product ourselves. We wanted to build 10,000 devices, which we’d sell for $25. To do this we needed £250,000. We went to agencies to match the funding we put in, but they said there was no market for what we were doing.

We ensure there is a clear petition between the charitable foundation and the trading side

In the end my colleagues and I put our hands in our pockets and found a group of angels. We changed our model too we design the Pi, but we don’t manufacture it. Did you have instant success or was recognition hard won? There was a long delay, a slow burn. We launched the foundation at the end of 2008 and in the background we were building the product. We wanted the BBC to brand it; we tried but due to EU law, they couldn’t help us. But when BBC correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones took a clip of our device, within two days it got 600,000 views. It started a “big bang” of publicity. After that we did a lot of social media work, and my wife Liz, a freelance journalist, dropped everything and began doing our PR. At the moment we’re on a bit of a high, but we have to maintain it.


Was it hard to set up a charitable foundation with a commercial trading subsidiary? How do you keep them separate? We ensure there is a clear partition between the charitable foundation and the trading side. Of course there are times when we’re not sure, for example when we built the community website, we asked: “should that be commercial or charity?” In the end we decided it was an asset of the foundation. This issue of Talk Business is all about technology, and how it’s changing the world for consumers and businesses. Do you think to stay ahead of the game we need to be creators of technology now, rather than consumers? Yes, and this is something I’m passionate about. Countries and people that create will go further. Our mission is to get to people when they’re young. There’s no point of putting a 25-year-old in front of a piano and expecting them to turn into Mozart. It’s easier to learn when we’re young. The thing about technology is sometimes it’s hard to translate what you want to do. You have lots people walking round with fantastic ideas for apps, but unfortunately they’re just ideas as they don’t have


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the tools to make them. We want to give them the tools. What were the biggest struggles you faced, and did you ever think about giving up? We launched in 2008 and we’re only making waves now. We went in fits and starts. I think the reason is the technology we need to produce the Pi wasn’t affordable, and I had to dedicate time to my studies. Getting the capital together and making the prototype was difficult. We visited 10 to 20 factories, but none of them could make it for us at a reasonable price, so we were forced to go to China. Then, months later, we found a factory in Bridgend, enabling us to bring 100% of the production to the UK. How did you overcome the challenges? Passion for what we were doing. I had to work 100 hours a week to get it going, but it was worth it because I believed in what we were doing, and I still want to change the world.

I’d worked at IBM and Intel before, and I couldn’t move a needle while I was there

Vital statistics Company founded: 2008 Start-up capital: £130,000 Turnover: £2m Profit: £1m Growth rate: £100,000 to £200,000 a month. Biggest achievement: Our business model; we only design it, we don’t manufacture it. What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur? The power. I’d worked at IBM and Intel before, and I couldn’t move a needle while I was there. Now I pay people’s mortgages, their bank accounts have money in because I came up with a good idea – it’s very empowering. More people are looking to set up their own businesses now. In the UK I believe we’ve gone from having around 20 to 70 million SMEs. I think the Internet has played a huge part in this. What would your advice be to first-time businesses that are experiencing difficulties in the current economic climate? Do something to test the waters and yourself before you dive in. Buy something and sell it on


eBay to make a profit. Or make something and do the same. Learn how to sell yourself and your products. If you fail, learn from your mistakes. I launched a business in my 20s, and I know it’s better to fail early on when nothing depends on it. Remember there is capital around; you just have to work hard to find it. What does the future hold? We’re on a high at the moment but we need to keep it going. I want the Raspberry Pi to become mainstream for kids, like Leapfrog, but I also want adults to use it. We’re working on the offical case at the moment. Contact: raspberrypi.org


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BUSINESS COACH A business coach is a professional with a background in small business who oversees, assists and guides owners in developing, starting, and growing a small business. A business coach will help clarify your business goals and objectives whilst you develop the skills and acquire the resources needed to operate a successful business. A business coach will take an unbiased view of your business, identify business opportunities, whilst assisting you in balancing your business and personal life.  A business coach will guide and support you in everything from business strategy, marketing, financial control, general administration,  recruitment, employee conflict resolution and anything else that is important to you. 

How Does Coaching Work The coaching partnership begins with a startup session in which the coach learns all about you and your business. Afterwards your Business Coach will meet with you on a regular basis, either in person, over the telephone or via Skype, to discuss

the current and future challenges that you are facing. This structure keeps you and your business on track and allows you to continuously move forward towards your goals and objectives. The results are that you gain clarity on what success means to you, and the actions you should take to achieve success.

What Is Expected Of You The key to an effective relationship between your business coach and you is a commitment by both parties. •You should be open to change and transition, to exploring business possibilities. •You should show a commitment to understanding and growing, and to confronting and working toward solutions to any business challenges that may arise. •You should bring a desire to succeed to the relationship and have a commitment and willingness to learn from your business coach. •You should recognise that you and your business coach are professional partners.

THE 50K CLUB This online program is aimed at giving smaller businesses the advice, guidance and ongoing support they need for a profitable, robust and successful business by showing you step-by-step everything you need to know and DO to succeed. It’s called the £50k Club because it is our aim to help you make £50k profit from a newly established business, if you are an existing business then your potential growth could be even greater.

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Yet for around £3.30 a day it costs the same as a cup of coffee, what’s more the first module is FREE, if you don’t like it simply cancel within the first 14 days and you will be charged nothing.

Your Coaching Options At My Business Advice you can choose from online business development courses and personalised one-toone coaching sessions all with an experienced business coach, AND you can try these risk free. •Our online business development courses courses offer a free 14 day trial period. •Our one-to-one mentoring packages offer a free initial session and a no-risk guarantee. We will ask you to allocate a minimum of 2 to 5 hours a week, depending on the package, and we will support you at every stage to enable you to implement the strategies for rapid and sustainable business growth. Is It Affordable For Me Using the services of a business coach is surprisingly affordable, especially compared to the hidden costs of not using one and they are just a phone call / email away with support and advice when you most need it.  You could get extra profit over the next 3 years equal to your current turnover, that is an extra £200,000 for a business with a turnover of £200,000. What difference would that make in your business?


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What This Means As monthly year 2 sales begin where year 1 sales ends you could get extra profit over the next 3 years equal to your turnover, that’s an extra £200,000. What difference would that make to your business?

30/07/2013 12:01

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ome of us are practically born with our minds made up about our lives. We may not know how we’re going to get there, but we know where we’re going, like Sara Davies, from Durham. ‘My dad had his own company and property, while my mum had a decorating store that had been in our village for 30 years,’ she says. ‘They taught me that if I was going to work hard, it might as well be for myself. ‘I always knew I wanted to own my own company, but I didn’t know what industry I wanted to work in.’ A country bumpkin at heart, Sara didn’t want to venture too far from home. So leaving the north for London or becoming an investor in the City was out of the question. Instead she chose a business management course at York University, an hour and a half from her home town. ‘It was an elite course with 30 students, and many of them were privately educated – I felt like an underdog,’ she says. ‘I’ve never been the brightest.’ But by the end of the first year she was one of the course’s highest achieving students. At the end of her second year, Sara had to choose a work placement. Still feeling unsure about what she wanted to do, a friend of a friend who had started a craft business agreed to take her on. ‘Me and my mum used to make candles and things when I was little but I knew nothing about the craft industry,’ Sara says. ‘It was a boom time for the crafts and it really opened my eyes, I learnt how to craft and fell in love with it.’ During her sandwich year, Sara came up with her first product idea; an envelopemaking tool. Back at university, she was hell-bent on getting her product to market.


Vital statistics Company founded: October 2005 Start-up capital: £1,000 a term AKA my student loan Turnover: £6m in the UK, $4m in the US Profit: Healthy, but could be improved Growth rate: UK – 24%, US – threefold Biggest achievement: in 2011, I won the Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Crafters conquest

Sara Davies’ business, Crafter’s Companion – launched during her last year at university – turns over £6m in the UK and $4m in the US, and it’s an industry she once knew nothing about



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‘I look back on it now and I don’t know how I did it,’ Sara admits. ‘I’d get up at 7am and work on my business until 5pm, then I’d do my university work until 1am.’ Sara used her student loan to fund her business, which was difficult. She knew injection moulding would be the best way to make her product, but she couldn’t afford it, so she found a little shop to make it in medium-density fibreboard. ‘My first big break came when I got onto the shopping channel, Ideal Shopping Direct,’ she says. ‘I managed to convince the channel every crafter needed one and they invited me on. ‘I sold 8,000 in the first day and my product became the crafter’s must-have Christmas present that year – Crafter’s Companion was born.’ Once she’d sold 30,000 units Sara had enough profit to make the injection-moulded version of her product and things really started taking off. However, success is never without setbacks. ‘My university didn’t support what I was doing; they wanted me to concentrate on my course,’ she says. ‘I remember being rejected from a huge pitch as well, I was a 20-yearold trying to sell products to the masses - I came home and cried on my bed while the other students brought me tea.’ Sara’s spirit kept her going; she finished university with a first class honours, and the highest achiever of her school. With the introduction of new products, Crafter’s Companion went from strength to strength and she was making regular appearances on Ideal Shopping Direct. In fact, crafts became so big for the network, it introduced a new channel solely dedicated to crafts.


My life I’m watching: The Big Bang Theory. I’m reading: autobiographies like Duncan Bannatyne’s and Alan Sugar’s. I’ve also read Ant and Dec’s book too – it was interesting to learn how they’d built themselves as a brand. I’m listening to: the radio. I‘m surfing: Facebook, and mother and baby websites.

It was a boom time for the crafts and it really opened my eyes, I learnt how to craft and fell in love with it

Sara had certainly put her stamp on the world of crafts in the UK, and in 2007 she decided to break America, with huge success, despite launching during the economic downturn. ‘Few businesses had tackled the US, so I was asked to sit on the board of directors of the Craft & Hobby Association at the age of 24,’ she says. York University also hailed Sara’s achievements and has since asked her back to talk to students about her business. Like most entrepreneurs, Sara admits that her business pretty much takes over her life. She has grown the business herself, but says her parents and childhood sweetheartturned husband, Simon, have supported her. ‘Simon says I’m unemployable,’ she says. ‘I come in on a Monday morning with an idea, and an hour later it’s being developed. He says in the real world

businesses can’t change with a moment’s notice.’ Her husband was working on the accounts for multimillion pound companies, but when Sara’s business started growing, he quit his job and became the managing director of Crafter’s Companion. ‘I would have done too much, too soon,’ she admits. ‘He keeps the money in check, and as sales director I can look after the rest of the business, including creativity.’ Sara says she always knew her twenties would be dedicated to business, while her thirties would be the time to have a family. She turns 30 next year, and has some fantastic news. ‘I’m four and a half months pregnant,’ she beamed. Well, Sara may not have known how she was going to get where she is today, but she’s arrived. Contact: crafterscompanion.co.uk


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25/07/2013 15:52

Are you in need of HR and Health & Safety Support at an affordable price, with 24 hour online access and on call support? Look no further! Revera SOS offers a unique combination of HR and H&S support via our secure online portal that is specifically tailored to your business. Our product offers instant access to upto-date HR and H&S information, relevant workplace legislations, template policies & procedures, sample letters and training modules on key business issues, to support you and your management team. You can also have the extra assurances of telephone, email and onsite support from highly-skilled, fully qualified professionals.

Why do you need us? With people come complications…and Revera SOS gives you and your managers the tools to deal with issues quickly and effectively, whilst providing support and coaching to people who may not have been in such situations before. Revera SOS offers the answers to your HR and Health & Safety issues, and we provide a level of support tailored specifically to your business requirements. Whilst there are plenty of products that offer advice, Revera SOS offers a modern and dedicated service that is

specifically designed for SMEs. We can also undertake ad-hoc project work and assist with the complete implementation of HR and H&S – please contact our team for further information.


• Our most popular package with SMEs. You are comfortable with HR and H&S, however you would benefit from the assurance of accessing our portal and having the ability to download documents and information which is updated with new legislation and relevant to your business, without trawling through search engines and finding out-of-date and incorrect information. £49.00 per month


• You need some dedicated assistance and you need to know someone is there for HR/ H&S guidance, but you’re experienced in dealing with people issues. You need answers to questions, but the ability to source the information quickly on your own: • 1 hours support per month • 24 hour email response service and dedicated hotline • Unlimited access to portal £99.00 per month


We use a simple traffic light system on our portal to identify the potential difficulties associated with each action and we have used this model to create 3 levels of service:

• You are a growing business with big ambitions, or are not experienced enough to feel confident in delivering HR and H&S: • 5 hours support per month • 24 hour email response service and dedicated hotline • Unlimited access to portal £249.00 per month

Now is the right time to invest in HR and Health & Safety but we know that keeping costs low are of key importance, so as an exclusive offer to Talk Business readers if you sign up to one of our packages before 31st August 2013 you will receive a 50% discount on your SOS fee for the first 6 months*. To sign up, or to discuss further your requirements with one of our HR professionals please email us at enquiries@revera-sos.co.uk or visit the Revera SOS website at www.revera-sos.co.uk *Minimum contract term is 6 months

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29/07/2013 14:07


hy would you feed your best friend something you wouldn’t eat yourself? This question led childhood friends, Daniel Eha and Mat Cockcroft to launch Pure Pet Food. It all started in Dan’s kitchen a year ago, but now the two are tipped as being two of the UK’s 20 young entrepreneurs to watch in 2013. Pure Pet Food is natural dehydrated dog food tested by humans. It avoids the harsh cooking procedures often used in commercial pet foods, meaning that many owners who have turned to low processed, raw and home cooked meals can choose Pure Pet Food as a healthier, convenient option.


WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM? Mat and myself grew up together on a small farm in Yorkshire, lucky enough to be brought up on fresh fruit and vegetables. Having dogs ourselves made us look at the pet industry and the foods available. We couldn’t understand how highly processed food, containing low quality ingredients, manufactured into small biscuits could be ideal. WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS TRYING TO GET AN IDEA OFF THE GROUND? Do your market research and be sure you are in business for the right reasons. Find something you’re passionate about and don’t be afraid to give it a go! Don’t do it just for financial reasons.



Daniel Eha Shell LiveWIRE winner, Daniel Eha is co-founder of Pure Pet Food, the dog food that has to pass a human taste test

WHAT WAS YOUR WORST JOB? It took almost a year to get the regulations and various testing, which we needed to launch Pure. We took on all sorts of different weekend jobs to get the funding we needed to make it a success. One of the least glamorous jobs was cleaning gutters. WHAT’S TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST? I love travelling. Although we aren’t ready to start exporting yet, distributors in Switzerland, Norway and Sweden have already approached us. If travelling to some of these locations become part of dayto-day life at Pure, I certainly won’t be complaining! WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU’VE FACED AS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR? Being the first natural dog food to be made in a human quality facility resulted in huge challenges. When we initially turned to industry experts for advice, common opinion was that we couldn’t achieve it.

However we persevered, and finally we gained the regulation we required to start making Pure foods on a bigger scale than my kitchen. HOW MUCH DOES MONEY MOTIVATE YOU? I launched Pure because I had a desire for a real sense of achievement, something I could be proud of. However the underlying profitability of the company is paramount to that ambition becoming reality. Although money is not my number one motivation, we spend a significant amount of time looking at forecasting, margins and profitability to ensure Pure continues to grow. TELL US ABOUT YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE… Our first ambition is for pet lovers all over the UK to be able to feed a Pure food diet to their pets. After that we see huge export opportunities across Europe, and then the world. Contact: purepetfood.co.uk


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Mad Ad 2013 Final.pdf 1 09/07/2013 14:23:49









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Take ten WHY ME? I’ve experienced many ups and downs, both in my personal life and in business, like divorce, having to rebrand my business when I suspiciously found another offering the same services with the same name, getting ripped off, naively not taking out business insurance, and hiring people I couldn’t trust. My main personal problem is my mystery illness caused as a result of being spiked in a nightclub. I’ve suffered with blackouts ever since, and a few months ago things got worse. I suffered a dislocated shoulder in my sleep, which I’m still having physiotherapy for, as it hasn’t healed. Doctors think I may have had a stroke or seizure, but I have to attend hospital on a regular basis and undergo tests. This affects business meetings and my ability work. On a personal level it’s incredibly hard to deal with, I’ve had to give up hobbies that make me happy and I’m constantly worried about my health.


How do you manage your business when cracks appear in your personal life? Cemanthe Harris, founder of New Media Angels, has had her fair share of problems and reveals how she copes

Like most entrepreneurs my business is my life, so if something goes wrong in one, the other feels it. Here are my top tips for coping…

4) GO OUT AND DO IT Gather the knowledge you need in order to be perfect in business. I took a formal PR and marketing course, because I didn’t originally come from that background. Go out and network, meet people who can help you in business when times get tough.

I’m passionate about what I do.

5) REMOVE YOURSELF If you’re reaching your boiling point don’t shout, cry or pull your hair out - go away. Pick up a notebook and go to your favourite restaurant, park or coffee shop. Do something you enjoy, and take a breather.

Sometimes you’re going to need a holiday, or you’re going 1) REMIND YOURSELF to get ill; Every time I feel overwhelmed, you can’t do I remind myself why I’m in everything all business. For me, it’s not for the money, it’s for the freedom and of the time 2) TAKE A DUVET DAY Take a break when you feel you need it. You can’t work hard and be perfect all the time. You should do this for your employees – they deserve a break too. 3) YOU NEED SUPPORT I’m not talking about a business mentor or coach, but a confidante in your personal life. Mine is my mum; she hasn’t run her own business, but she can guide and rationalise my actions and thoughts. Your support figure needs to be your biggest fan but honest as well. If you’ve got a terrible idea, they need to tell you.

6) DELEGATE Are you sure you want to be a one (wo)man band? Don’t expect too much from yourself. Sometimes you’re going to need a holiday, or you’re going to get ill; you can’t do everything all of the time. Employ people to help you grow your business. Contact: newmediaangels.com


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25/07/2013 16:00

Pay less in the long run Introducing the New 2014 Volvo range

Book a demo today. Call 08457 300 140 or visit volvocars.co.uk/business The New 2014 Volvo range could save your fleet money year after year. With class leading CO 2 emissions starting at a mere 88g/km,* you could save on BIK & NIC whilst also being able to write off up to 100% of the list price against tax. Our City Safety technology comes as standard and can reduce accident-related costs by up to 65% †. And outstanding NCAP ratings across the range mean lower insurance premiums too. All of which shows why a cheaper car could cost a lot more.

• City Safety technology as standard • CO 2 from 88g/km* • Combined mpg from 83.1* • BIK from £43.96 per month§

Official fuel consumption for the New Volvo range in MPG (l/100km): Urban 18.6 (15.2) – 74.3 (3.8), Extra Urban 34.9 (8.1) – 91.1 (3.1), Combined 26.4 (10.7) – 83.1 (3.4). CO2 Emissions 249 – 88g/km. MPG figures are obtained from laboratory testing and intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reflect real driving results. *New Volvo V40 D2 †Statistics supplied by Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services – October 2012 for 2007-2011. § Benefit In Kind rate for the 2013/2014 tax year on the Volvo V40 D2 ES Manual for a 20% taxpayer.

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Business is Beautiful The hard art of standing apart By Jean-Baptiste Danet and others How do we link the hardness of measurement with the art of the often difficult to explain tipping points in the life of a company? This is one of the questions addressed in Business is Beautiful. The five authors of the book, Jean-Baptiste Danet, Nick Liddell, Lynne Dobney, Dorothy MacKenzie and Tony Allen, are all from Dragon Rouge, an international design and innovation business. They examine 20 businesses, and interview individuals at the forefront of companies like BMW, Rabobank, Conde` Nast

and Opower, to reveal what it takes to stand apart. Danet says: In among the prescriptive methodologies and quantifiable measurements models, we’ve seen at first hand that those businesses that surprise and delight, entertain and encourage, and that are relevant and sustainable for the future, all possess more human values. We wanted to capture their thinking, to demonstrate how beautiful businesses stand part. We say: The book identifies the five

“hallmarks” of business, the qualities they believe make a successful business, which cannot be measured easily. The five hallmarks are; integrity, curiosity, elegance, craft, and prosperity. The stories, from an array of companies located all over the world, identify their success in relation to the five hallmarks. This book provides an inspirational and insightful read, presented in a beautifully designed book with plenty of fantastic photography and illustrations.

Our verdict: Business if Beautiful is published by LID publishing, priced at £19.99 in hardback

The Book on Entrepreneurship and Property The Guide to Successful Entrepreneurship and Property Investment By Selchouk Sami Selchouck Sami is the founder of SS Business Consultants, and head of property at a north London firm of solicitors. Sami is the first lawyer in the UK to publish a book that explains how to use the entrepreneurial strategy known as instalment contracts when buying and selling a property. The book analyses the essential characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and discusses how readers can apply techniques to their own endeavours. He says: The great entrepreneurs know how to grab or create

opportunities and then make it happen by forming the right partnerships. By the time you have completed this book, you should be equipped with the fundamentals to enable you to decide what your next move in business is going to be; whether it is to find the right business partner or to seek advice from an expert. We say: In eight concise chapters the book illustrates how entrepreneurship has developed and impacted society by reviewing industrial revolutions that have set the framework for

economic development. The author Selchouk Sami also lists his 10 greatest entrepreneurs of all time, including Sir Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. It’s an interesting read that approaches entrepreneurship with a legal mind. We’ve got one of each book to give away FREE. Be the first to follow and tweet us, quoting the book name @TalkBusinessMag & we’ll send you a free copy!

Our verdict: The Book on Entrepreneurship and Property is published by AuthorHouse, priced at £9.95 in paperback


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What guarantee?

There has been an increase in the number of personal guarantees used for SME funding. Jumping on the bandwagon? Mark Hughes, corporate finance partner at Browne Jacobson LLP, tells you everything you need to know

ersonal guarantees (known as PGs) often play a key part in an entrepreneur obtaining funding, particularly at an early stage of a business cycle or when additional funding is required in excess of a company’s asset base. Generally, a company has limited liability - meaning that in the event of a company becoming insolvent, its directors and shareholders will not become personally liable above and beyond any previous contribution that they have made by way of loan or share capital to the company’s assets. A PG is an arrangement that sits outside of this general principle and creates a direct relationship between the person signing the PG and the entity relying on it; and while the use of the expression “guarantee” implies that reliance on a PG is something secondary, sitting behind the primary obligation of the company itself, from a legal


distinction they are usually drafted in such a way so that the obligation is one which sits alongside the liability of the company itself. For obvious reasons, owners and directors of businesses will want to resist giving PGs - after all why use a limited liability vehicle, such as a company to carry on trade, and then potentially undo that by signing a PG? Sometimes though, the giving of a PG is unavoidable. We all recognise that banks are increasingly risk adverse when agreeing the sanctioning of credit, and in addition to taking security over a company’s assets (such as by way of a debenture) they will also want a PG, and, in some cases, may want the PG itself backed by other security (in effect this is what people mean when they say they have mortgaged their own property to the bank as security for their business borrowings). In addition to banks, landlords also often seek

We all recognise that banks are increasingly risk adverse when agreeing the sanctioning of credit

personal guarantees. For example, they will often ask for three years’ audited accounts and trade references when considering whether a lease should be granted or assigned - and often a PG is requested in place of, or in addition to these. In the current market though, if there is a choice of otherwise similar properties available, the requirement for a PG may mean that you prefer one property over another. Whether you agree to give a PG or not is a decision based on your appetite for risk and whether the funding line or asset is so critical as to mean that the giving of the PG is worth it. One of the questions I would always ask when advising those being asked to give a PG is to consider the worse case position: how would you feel if the PG is called on in 12 months time? Is the risk one that you legitimately consider is worth taking? The law (and in effect the involvement of the law


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in regulating the giving and receiving of PGs) has grown in recent years. During the recessions of the 1980s, a large number of cases were decided as a result of a wife losing her interest in the matrimonial home because it had been used as security for the PG given by a husband in respect of his business interests. This now means that most funders (and some landlords) insist that anyone giving a PG receives independent legal advice from a solicitor. In turn, the solicitor is required to give a certificate to the funder


confirming that it has given this advice. This is for the benefit of the funder, to ensure that the PG cannot be set aside at a later date because the person giving the PG argues that they did not understand its full risks or it was entered into as a result of duress or undue influence. The downside of this process means that the How would you feel if the instructions of the bank have to PG is called be followed to the absolute, and in the 24-hour communications on in 12 st months time? world of the 21 Century, this process can seem to take an Is the risk one that you undue amount of time. If, having considered all of the legitimately risks in giving the PG, you still consider is consider that it is the right thing worth taking? to do, you should then think about limits being placed on it. Your starting point will be to want some sort of financial cap

– for example, an absolute sum or something equivalent to, say, six months rent in the case of a lease obligation. You may also want an opportunity to bring the PG to an end by serving notice on the entity relying on it; careful with this though – the PG will usually secure any liabilities that exist at the end of the notice period so it in effect chrysalises the liability. Lastly - and if you don’t take anything away from this article other than this, then it will still be worth it - you should remember that a PG will usually not fall away if and when you cease to be associated with the company. As mentioned, the obligation is not one of the company’s, but is your own obligation - meaning that if, for example, you were to sell the company or your interest in it, you could still be liable after the point of sale.


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25/07/2013 16:14

Talk To us abouT whaT’s holding your business back... The ICAEW Business Advice Service is an easy way to get expert financial advice and reassurance on your business. Planning your business • Self-employment or Ltd Co. • Preparing your business plan • Raising finance

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You can start today with a free, straight-forward discussion with an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. There’s no obligation after your first session – just practical thinking to help your business succeed. businessadviceservice.com bas@icaew.com +44 (0)20 7920 3561 © ICAEW MSDPLN11656 10/12

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Bootstrapping o me, bootstrapping is the best option when starting a business. It’s never easy, and it’s not always glamorous, but I believe bootstrapping will encourage you to become a better, stronger entrepreneur and ultimately incentivise you to intelligently grow your business. When my business partner, Jamie Turner and I first established Postcode Anywhere back in 2001, we went to meet a number of venture capitalists (VCs) including Barclays Capital and Elderstreet Investment. We went to market as the dotcom bubble burst and received rejections at every point. While I could understand their point of view, which was that our timing was poor and we didn’t have a track record, as a former City-based investment manager I know that there’s no reward without a degree of risk. 


BEST THING I NEVER HAD I often refer to the rejection process as being the best thing that ever happened to us. I remember one of my biggest motivators in this period was receiving a flippant email from

Guy Mucklow was told by a VC he’d get eaten for breakfast, now he’s co-founder of Postcode Anywhere, an address management firm with 8,000 customers worldwide and a £7m turnover. He tells us why bootstrapping is best

a Barclays VC, who told me that we were doomed as the “gorilla” in our market would eat us for breakfast. I believed that he was ignorant and didn’t realise how disruptive our model would be – which is exactly as it’s turned out! GETTING STARTED Getting off the ground was a struggle, as we put our hands in our pockets. But while you might view starting a business with a tight budget as a disadvantage, I believe it can prove incredibly beneficial further down the line, particularly if it’s your first venture. Bootstrapping helped us foster a culture of self-sufficiency, which is so important in a small business. THE BENEFITS When cash is tight, you’re forced to start small, test

I believed that he was ignorant and didn’t realise how disruptive our model would be – which is exactly as it’s turned out!

your assumptions carefully, and then scale up. Along the way, you learn about your products and customers far more intimately. Bootstrapped companies learn from the beginning that customers, not investors, pay the bills. Bootstrapping a business makes you far more sensitive to what you’re spending your money on. With less capital to work with, you’re forced to search for the lowest cost options available on the market - driving a hard bargain from the outset, thus improving your margins. DO WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU Of course, every entrepreneurial venture is different. But learning how to do more with less is one of the most important skills bootstrapping has taught me. Contact: postcodeanywhere.co.uk


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Is software the most efficient solution or is the flexibility of online better? Two payroll solution providers share their views SOFTWARE HITESH TAILOR, REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR OF SUMTOTAL SYSTEMS, A HR SOFTWARE COMPANY

In-house operated payroll systems are easily scalable, efficient and simple to operate. It will perform quicker than an online solution as well I see software becoming as allowing full customisation. obsolete in the way that floppy An in-house solution will enable disks did payroll to easily link with other HR functions, such as learning and workforce management, allowing increased visibility of employee data. Processing payroll requires sensitive personal information. For organisations wary about where data is stored, an in-house, on-premises solution is the preferential option over online. For large organisations with thousands of employees, a big benefit is how an in-house, onpremises software system will streamline the data needed in order to process payroll, adding increased efficiency. One additional benefit to call out is that locally installed and operated payroll software allows businesses to ensure full regulatory It will perform quicker than compliance even as Government an online solution as well as requirements shift. Overall, an allowing full customisation in-house solution is an efficient, flexible and easy–to-use option.”



I have worked in software and online, so I have the perspective of both and I’d never take a step back to software from online or cloud solutions. I see software becoming obsolete in the way that floppy disks did. Online and cloud systems provide more flexibility. With cloud systems, you are able to access them from anywhere, on demand. You may think there are security issues accessing your payroll information from anywhere, but as long as you make sure your supplier encrypts sensitive data - like online banking sites do - it’s perfectly safe. With online, you only pay for what you need, if you have one employee you pay for one employee, whereas software comes in packages. If you buy a package for five to 10 employees and have five employees, you’re losing money. With online you don’t have to buy upgrades either. It’s reliable, efficient, great for cash flow, and I believe online and cloud systems are the future of payroll solutions.”


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Online Accounting

from Zero to Hero

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30/07/2013 13:42


What about the bank? The availability of traditional bank loans for SMEs is a constant concern: four founders tell us why they turned elsewhere

Alago An innovative provider of heated glove technology; used for gardening, sports, and everyday cold weather conditions. Managing director, Tony Curtis was full of doubt after being turned down on BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den until he turned to pension-led funding to make his business a success. Founded in: April 2010 Start up capital: None for the first year. Turnover: Still in first year, but predict £120,000 Net profit: £60,000 Growth rate: Started with one product in the UK, and we now have nine products in 13 countries. Type of funding used? Pension funding. I was taking a business course and an advisor

told me about it. So I contacted my provider, the company was valued to draw pension, and I borrowed £27,000. Why? I appeared on Dragons’ Den two years ago and got rejected - James Caan didn’t want to invest in a business that hadn’t sold any products and the other Dragons said they’d either seen similar products or didn’t see the point of them. The high street banks also refused to lend. What are the pros? You’re borrowing from yourself. It feels good when you pay back money as it’s going towards your future. And cons? It’s high risk as you’re gambling your future. You have to be 100% sure of your business. Contact: alago.co.uk

E-Car The UK’s first entirely electric pay-per-use car club, which is preparing for its national launch this month. Executive chairman, Andrew Wordsworth explains why a mix of two funding types fitted the business. Founded in: September 2012 Start up capital: £17,000 Turnover: £50,000 Net profit: N/A Growth rate: Next year hope to expand our fleet. Type of funding used? Combination of crowd-equity funding and angel investing.


Why? As well as receiving grants, we received £100,000 from crowd funding (from 62 investors) and off the back of that we found an angel investor who put in £215,000. It works perfectly because we have one external stakeholder who sits on the board, and 62 who are silent. What are the pros? It’s a good mix and we get the best of both worlds. And cons? Crowdfunding was the hardest, you have to believe in your product and be able to sell it well. Contact: e-carclub.org


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Ruk-Bug Ruk-Bug is a lightweight pushchair that can be folded and carried in an attached rucksack. Founder Russell Clifton turned to The Funding Store to secure £150,000 to develop the product. Founded in: April 2010 Start up capital: Having developed the design we needed £100,000 to develop the prototype, prove the concept, file patents and test the market. Turnover/net profit/ growth rate: We are still pre-revenue, but interest has been extremely positive. We have serious interest from major high street retailers, many independent retailers, distributors, and e-tailers. Type of funding used? Through The Funding Store we found a private angel investor


who understood the business, lived close by, and had the right amount of money to invest. Why? We looked into a range of investment options, but the problem was finding people who understood our business and who we could trust. I wanted to manufacture in the UK, which is unheard of in this market, and there were concerns over profitability. What are the pros? The Funding Store really understands small businesses and the funding landscape. They combine a very smart search facility with independent advice. For a small fee, under £200, they helped match the company to a suitable investor and helped me shape my proposal. And cons? I would say paying the upfront fee, but it was reasonable. Contact: ruk-bug.com

Grono One of the UK’s leading providers of high quality artificial grass, even after signing a deal to be the sole supplier of Jewson’s in 2011, was turned down by the major banks. Managing director, Lionel Gilmartin tells us about using trade credit from his supplier. Founded in: 2009 Start up capital: Borrowed from a friend. Turnover: £1m Net profit: 15% Growth rate: Double turnover from last year, and the year before. Intend to double this year too. Type of funding used? Trade credit from supplier Why? Despite securing a big retail deal, the banks were not lending. I couldn’t get on

any Government schemes, nor could I secure a £5,000 overdraft. I had nowhere to turn, so I got on a plane to China and had a meeting with our supplier. We agreed trade credit; $100,000 for 90 days, which gave us 60 days to sell our products. What are the pros? Good opportunity when banks are unwilling to lend. Suppliers were honourable. As we’ve grown, we’ve increased the credit facility to 120 days up to the value of $300,000. And cons? You need to be certain you can sell what you need to make payments, but also don’t run out of products too soon. And if you make a late payment you get a black mark. Contact: grono.co.uk


042_043 MONEY Different Funding.**g**.indd 41


25/07/2013 16:57




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Purely Payroll.indd 41

JULYJULY 20132013

29/07/2013 14:14


A day in the life This month we go backstage, as we put Start-Up Loan recipient Take A Hint Theatre Company into the Talk Business limelight aniel Jones, 23, is the artistic director of Take A Hint Theatre Company. He and his two co-founders, Lucie Rice, 21, and Sally Smithson, 23, received a Start-Up Loan to set up their Liverpool and Stoke-on-Trent-based company.


DEAR DIARY… The first thing I do each morning is check emails and social network accounts. Following that, I prepare for the performances we have booked at two schools with my colleagues, Lucie, the musical director and Sally, the creative director.


We arrive at the school and are shown to the space that we’ll be performing in. This part of the day is always exciting, as all spaces vary in size and can offer various challenges. Thankfully this one is a standard school hall. Today’s play is called Learning Through Fairytales, an educational play that teaches shapes, numbers and positional language through traditional tales. The four of us set the performance space, including our hand painted backdrops, self-made props, and sound desk, and get into our costumes.



Then the play begins for 120 excited pupils in the nursery and reception classes, and opens with a re-telling of The Three Bears. The first performance of the day ends with bows and thanks to the pupils for watching and taking part. After the equipment is loaded into the car, I speak to the teachers to ask for feedback and about future projects. Back at the office, I again check emails before the three of us sit and write a press release for a future project while eating lunch.

In Profile > Entrepreneur: Daniel Jones > Business: Take A Hint > Web: takeahint.org.uk > Concept: A theatre company that specialises in creating educational, thought provoking, innovative plays and musicals, accessible for audiences of all ages. > Start-Up Loan: £2,000


We arrive at the second school. This time we find ourselves in a small classroom with low ceilings. After some quick thinking we adapt to our surroundings: this includes turning our homemade tree into a bush.


All three of us are very creative minded, but it’s important for us to focus on the business side of the company too. In my role as secretary, I keep track of the finances, recording any data that may have changed. I also add testimonials that we have received from staff to the


website and post updates of the days events on our social network accounts. After a long day, the three of us go home for food. It’s hard to say when the working day officially ends as there’s always an email to be sent or replied to, but I try to spend the night either with friends or watching a film.



Start-Up Loans Company is a Government-backed scheme, chaired by James Caan, that provides loans and a successful mentoring scheme to budding entrepreneurs aged 18-30. With the assistance of The Start-Up Loans Company, more than 40 new businesses are being started every day. Contact: startuploans.co.uk


046 MONEY Start Up Loan Case Study.ga.indd 46

25/07/2013 17:03

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30/07/2013 14:22


Before you sign on the dotted line … Be aware of the T&C’s and how they affect you, NaviStar Legal founder, Jo Rogers says ave you ever bought anything online and ticked the box saying, “I have read these terms and conditions”, but not actually read them? I am sure that we have all done this in the past – but, as customers, are we aware of the consequences? And, as business owners, are we making the most of online signing in our business?


CONSENT It is easy to forget that ticking that box indicating your consent binds you to the seller’s terms and conditions and creates a legally binding and enforceable contract. In short, ticking that box without reading the terms and conditions in full is the same as physically signing an agreement without reading it. Assuming there is no fraud or misrepresentation by a seller, you will be deemed to have expressly agreed to the terms – even though you don’t know what they say! IMPLICATIONS AS A CUSTOMER As a customer, we are quick to consent to terms online, but if you don’t read the terms and conditions you may find yourself

agreeing to unexpected surprises. We have seen companies add additional pre-ticked boxes in the body of their terms and conditions. These boxes provide your consent to additional charges from your credit card for a monthly subscription, or for your information to be shared with third parties. In business, you may not want to deal with companies with terms and conditions like that, but until you read (or at least skim) the terms and conditions, you can’t know the content. We believe that getting a refund is more time-consuming than unticking those boxes from the start. Don’t rush, double-check by reading, printing (as a PDF) and storing all terms and conditions.

Have you ever bought anything online and ticked the box saying “I have read these terms and conditions”, but not actually read them?

In a business-to-business purchase, this wording allows terms and conditions, either on a web page or in PDF format, to govern that sale. As the seller, it is beneficial to know that online terms and conditions are usually signed quicker and negotiated less often by customers than paper versions. DIGITAL SIGNATURES Businesses are also more often using software products, such as EchoSign and similar online software packages, which can help to send, manage and record digital signatures for larger and more formal agreements. These software packages allow a sales team to sign customers without the hassle of printing, managing and automatically storing each agreement in a centralised way. Gain some insight into your signing options with a legal health check by emailing us at admin@navistarlegal.com for more details, or ask your lawyer to adapt any customer terms and conditions for use online and support you with your signing procedure to support your products. Contact: navistarlegal.com Twitter: @NaviStar

BENEFITS FOR YOUR BUSINESS OF ONLINE SIGNING Many businesses now use online signing procedures even for products that aren’t sold online. Salesmen often distribute a letter or email setting out the commercial terms, stating that they are: “subject to the terms and conditions set out at www.companyname.com/ terms, which are incorporated in full herein”.


49 MONEY Careful Contracts.ga.indd 49


25/07/2013 17:30

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Change is coming Changing your brand requires analysis, says Rich With. But just how far do you go?

y business is about to go through a seismic change. We’re expanding and moving into new premises, pretty much going from cruise to turbo boost over night. Now, one of the biggest decisions we have to make is in relation to our brand. Do we transform it completely or evolve it? Having gone through a rather extensive rebrand just a couple of years ago, it wasn’t without a small amount of trepidation on my part. However it’s more than just a logo or visual identity change. There’s set to be a cultural shift within the organisation too. It could change your reputation within the industry. Brands either grow or shrink; it’s not advisable for them to remain constant for great periods of time. We need to change, but to what degree? Is it a case of complete transformation (which is pretty much what we did a couple of years back), or do we evolve and adapt to the situation and community that surrounds us? Our current purpose has served us well; to think big,


Other firms seek to up their game, but we also have to make sure that smaller, more nimble companies don’t creep past us either

be creative and have fun. But at the same time we are not so arrogant as to realise that there are parts of the business that could do with, if are not essential to, change. We need to tell our new story. For example, we’re competing in target areas that are a little alien to us at the moment. We’ve identified exploitable gaps in certain markets and know we can service them like few others have before. There’s a risky, yet potentially lucrative opportunity to really disrupt certain industries. It’s likely that we will attract more heat from rivals. Now we’ve more than doubled in size, not only will other firms seek to up their game, but we also have to make sure that smaller, more nimble companies don’t creep past us either. The avenues we use to promote ourselves have increased and changed. Previous routes closed to us have opened, and again there’s potential to really cause a change to the way people view what we do. As French writer and historian Voltaire (and Stan Lee!) said: “With great power

there must also come great responsibility”. Now we have the power, we have a responsibility to our existing clients - to ensure that we still come up with the best and most creative work we can. We have a responsibility to our staff - to maintain a creative environment to inspire them to do the best work they can. And finally, we have a responsibility to ourselves - to embrace the opportunity and create something disruptive, influential and powerful. Yep, it’s scary but it’s a whole whack of fun too!

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30/07/2013 14:29



Be seen and shared Vinny Piana, director of Facebook specialist, Codastar, shares his five tips on how businesses can bring in sales through the social media site

witter may have overshadowed Facebook recently, but it still has fewer users than Facebook. Facebook’s one billion vs. Twitter’s 140 million, makes it a key place for businesses to be seen. More and more businesses are moving online and utilising social media in their marketing plan because of the reach it has with potential customers. Facebook alone now has 50% of the UK using the site - 95% of 18-25 year olds and 55% of the over 65s have an active account, spending an average of 20 minutes on the site per visit. Smaller businesses may wonder if Facebook is worth it. But with time and effort it’s possible to build a great company page that not only interacts with customers, but also increases sales. It’s easier than you think for smaller business to get their message across to potential customers. Here are five tips, which can help you make your Facebook page bring in sales.


FINDING YOUR CUSTOMERS Do you know who you want to reach on Facebook? This is the place to start; timing is everything. For example, if your customers are parents with young children - posting during the school run probably isn’t the best move. However, late morning with the rush over and tea in hand, users are likely to be browsing their social feeds and interacting. Similarly, with nine-to-five workers, non-driving commuters will be catching up on the day around 8am and 6pm, lunchtimes and late in the day, Fridays. JUDGE A (FACE)BOOK(ER) BY THEIR COVER The internet is no different to having a physical shop when it comes to displays. Appearance is everything! Carrying your branding from your website to your Facebook page is important - Facebook has become a “mini-website” where customers can find everything they need to, on one page. Your potential customers will be likely to read more

about you and your products if the information is all on your Facebook company page. You can create tabs to add blogs, events or special offer pages. It does cost money to have a Facebook developer create these different tabs for you. But, by allowing users to have enhanced usability online, you are giving them little doubt that you have the products they need - and a business they would indeed “like” to spend their money with.

Smaller businesses may wonder if Facebook is really worth their time

INFORMATION AND INSIGHT Everyone who signs up to Facebook provides a wide range of information: gender, geographical location, employment, hobbies and interests, and so on. Have you looked at your own Facebook page? You will find a range of companies that are targeting you because of the information you have provided. Accessing this information can cost you money. However, Original Equipment (featured on next page) found it helped boost sales. Adverts target people specifically because


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they take the information users have provided and make sure they reach the exact people they want; for example, having adverts about beer will not find favour with a 12-year-old girl. SPECIAL OFFERS As with any promotion, it is important to track, and subsequently analyse your success. Facebook is no different. Use codes, claims, competitions and cost-cuttings to not only help your audience feel valued, but also give a soft, yet assertive nudge in the direction of a sale. Many companies will ask you to “like” their page before you can get to the offers. This can result in two benefits – your social reach will increase because this can be seen by users friends, plus the user themselves will feel special because they have found a product they might not have bought without the deal. WHAT DOES A FACEBOOK “LIKE” MEAN TO YOU? If a Facebook page has a large number of “likes”, it does not mean they are selling through Facebook. A big named brand can have lots of “likes” but not actually engage with its customers. Give a reason for those who like your page to engage with you. Users spend vast amounts of time sharing and “liking” content on Facebook. If you engage with your customers, then they will be more inclined to share your content. This increases the number of people who are drawn to your page. Personal recommendations hold value and encourage others to establish why they want to promote your business.

Users spend vast amounts of time sharing and “liking” content on Facebook

CASE STUDY: Andrew McRobb, owner of 1948 Original Equipment tells us what Facebook and Codastar did for his company: ‘We are an online business which sells equipment and clothing for outdoor expeditions. For Christmas 2011, we used Facebook to attract new customers to our site to buy snow shovels and winterrelated equipment. Codastar took a two-pronged approach: 1. A special offers page with necessary calls-to-action and information. 2. Placing adverts to various groups who were identified as having a potential interest in the product or promotion: • People interested in camping. • People looking for Christmas presents for their partners. • Those interested in bushcraft/survivalists. This approached worked amazingly well to increase our “likes” fourfold, and increased sales for this period by 18%.’

Contact: codastar.com



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29/07/2013 14:32


Go to town Empowered consumers with higher expectations: products are not enough. Dawn Murden explores what retailers must do to adapt and survive on the high street



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here’s no doubt that e-commerce has changed the retail landscape in the UK. It’s the fastest growing market in Europe, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), and especially so in the UK. The online retail market share in the UK in 2012 was the highest at 12.7%, with Germany just below at 10%. But what does this mean for the high street? Simon Baldwin, director at Destination CMS, online communications specialist for the high street and shopping destinations, and a former member of Mary Portas’ pilot scheme, says naturally online shopping has changed the high street. ‘Around 20% of all retail purchases are now online; you can’t remove £1 in £5 from a traditional shopping landscape and it not have an impact,’ he says. ‘But the impact has been exacerbated by the economic woes of the last five years, continued out-of-town development, a distillation of retail offer by the largest supermarkets, and most importantly, the dramatic increased access to online that we all have through smart phones and tablets.’ Shortly after our last retail feature was published [Death of the high street, June], a new statistic was revealed by the CRR. It predicts that by 2018 the percentage of customers shopping online will rise from 12.7% to 21.5%, forcing the closure of one in five high street shops. But can we really imagine a life without the high street? Simon Baldwin says no. ‘We are, by nature, a habitual bunch. We like to get together, to meet family, friends and work colleagues to socialise,’ he says. ‘For far longer than living memory, that has been centred around our high streets.


Our high streets are changing. But change is an unstoppable force - it is history in the making

‘Our high streets are changing. But change is an unstoppable force - it is history in the making.’ Physically, our high streets will always be here. Of course some retailers will disappear and go online, others will appear; the important point that we want to address is survival and success, and how retailers and businesses can achieve it. To become an important part of the future, retailers need to learn how to adapt, and at the centre of this is customer expectation. O2 is a service provider to 23 million UK customers, and with 462 retail stores around the country it understands the challenges of serving customers in the digital world, and in a traditional retail environment.


Feilim Mackle, sales and service director at O2 said: ‘In order to survive in such a competitive marketplace, businesses must find innovative ways of engaging with their customers. ‘The rise of social and mobile technologies has empowered consumers, and their expectations continue to increase.’ Empowered consumers expect more, but it’s not enough just to meet their expectations, every retail expert I questioned said “differentiation” is key. Retailers can’t simply offer products; they need to offer more to compete with the convenience, value, and speed of online shopping, and their competitors online and offline. Face-to-face shopping can’t just be shopping anymore. It needs



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Trinity Leeds Laycock, Leeds Retail chair and former Trinity Centre director, said. ‘There’s always stimulation for customers, even when they’re not shopping, which makes it an enjoyable place to spend your Saturday.’ Mark Artus, CEO of 1HQ brand agency, agrees retailers need to offer more. ‘Caribou Coffee wanted to take on Starbucks and I wondered how they would do it,’ he said. ‘They mastered the art of conversation, marketing coffee for different times, they introduced a chess board to play with friends and tables for business meetings.’ Mastering the art of conversation brings us back to customer expectation. In order to understand what customers want, retailers need to engage with them. ‘People are people, not just consumers,’ says Mark Artus. ‘Deals like BOGOF have gone a bit mad. Instead of putting on deals they think customers want, retailers need to have a conversation.’ The theory of two-way communication between businesses and customers is becoming increasingly important according to experts [see feature on page 70], and this is most likely due to the rise of social media. ‘We can like, follow and interact with our favourite brands,’ says Simon Baldwin. ‘We can share, comment, praise and complain – it’s all in the palm of our hand.’

The rise of social and mobile technologies have empowered consumers, and their expectations continue to increase

Many argue the two-way communication is going “back to basics”. Like the days when you’d walk into the grocer and the shopkeeper would know your name and what you want, big brands are trying to achieve this. ‘If we ask our mum’s what going to town means, she’d saying something completely different to the way it is now,’ says David Laycock. ‘Shops have been selfish in the past; towns need to cater to everyone and look after visitors. ‘Cities, towns and people are no longer united, we need to go back to basics and the high street needs to be the hub of the community.’ Ros Barclay said the added pressure of the recession and rise of online shopping has stopped the complacency of the high street, so it isn’t all bad for retail. ‘It’s got rid of the dead wood - only the strongest can survive,’ she says. ‘Those that are adapting really stand out. ‘Calling Stratford’s Westfield a mere shopping centre seems to undersell it – it’s a lot more.’ In order to survive on the high street, retailers need to differentiate from their competitors, both online and offline. They need to have a conversation with consumers, answer their wants and needs and make shopping enjoyable. If retailers think their product or service is a necessity or the only one of it’s kind; they’re wrong. Modern, empowered consumers with heaps of choice can and will go elsewhere.

Photo credits: Nando Machado/Shutterstock.com; Alastair Wallace/Shutterstock.com

to be a fun, enjoyable leisure activity that people want to do, because if it’s not; most people know how much easier it is to buy online. ‘If any shops just offer products, they don’t deserve customers,’ said Simon Baldwin, bluntly. ‘On market research of one - being me - for a store to win my business, they need to provide a good, easily accessible location, a friendly welcome, good service, quality products and exceptional after-sales care.’ Before online shopping, consumers might have ignored bad service, because they liked the brand. Now, if they don’t enjoy going to that store, they can find something similar with the click of a button. As well as the expectations of impeccable service, there’s a rise in retailers and shopping centres offering bespoke in-store entertainment to get people through the doors and spend longer there. Ros Barclay, who has worked as a marketing manager at London’s Selfridge’s and Covent Garden, says this is something Selfridge’s was doing years ago. ‘Retailers need to differentiate,’ she says. ‘Selfridge’s was and is a leisure activity; we called it a retail theatre. We worked with artists to create 3D installations, we organised book signings with the likes of Madonna and David Walliams, we had food and drink events and kids activities – you can’t recreate this online.’ Leeds has adopted this notion of entertainment, most notably at its new shopping centre, Trinity. With hired buskers, dance troupes and popular bands like the Pigeon Detectives turning up unannounced to perform, there’s never a dull moment for shoppers. ‘At Trinity, we wanted to animate free space, and every day it’s different,’ David


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The Sales Doctor When prospective customers claim they have no budget, the sales doctor says you need to use his “side step” or “pretend” techniques to find out if the objection is really true

Q: A:

Dear sales doctor, I am proficient at closing when my leads are properly pre-qualified, however, I struggle with the “I haven’t got any budget” objection. How can I overcome this?

In the current climate this is an objection that arises time and time again, however what needs to be identified is, is it true? The best way to handle this objection is to do what I call the “side step technique” and you say, “Putting budget to one side, can I ask you…” Now the questions you ask all depend on what you are selling, however the objective is to build the value in the prospect’s mind to build the desire for your product or service. Let me illustrate this; I sell sales training, so once I hear, “We have no budget” I reply, “Putting budgets to one side, how are you currently developing your sales people? What areas do you feel they could improve? How

many of your team are not achieving their targets?” These questions build the value in the prospect’s mind and then I organise a meeting to discuss training; 80% of those never mention budget again as I have demonstrated the value I can bring to their business. Another method to handle this objection is what I call the “let’s pretend” technique and it goes like this: “Mr Prospect, let’s pretend you had a budget for my product/service, are you happy with what we have discussed today?” If they answer no to this, then you know the budget is not the real objection and you can ask them what is causing them to hesitate. If, on the other hand, they reply positively, then you need to qualify when their budget will next become available. You are then in a position to gain their commitment and potentially negotiate payments terms to fit in around their budget. TONY MORRIS, sales doctor


Tony Morris is director of The Sales Doctor, a sales training company based in Covent Garden in London. He is the author of Coffee’s for Closers, a sales book based on real life situations from which you can learn techniques and put them straight into practice. Contact: tony-morris.co.uk

Need a diagnosis?

Send your sales problems to the editor, marked ‘FAO the sales doctor’: dawn.murden@ astongreenlake.com


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26/07/2013 12:13

Ask a question Put words in their mouth, says sales author, coach and motivational speaker, Adam Caplan. The key to marketing is asking the right question

elling your products or services in 2013 is a very different operation compared to what it was like in 1993. In the past, we were very limited with our selling, marketing and advertising options. We had the telephone to make sales calls, or sent our brochures out with letters of introduction. We could advertise in magazines, newspapers and, if we were really going for it, on television. Now, we have a plethora of selling, marketing and advertising vehicles to use. On top of the traditional techniques we now have the internet, SEO, Google, YouTube, websites, pop-up ads, Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, and so on. We have



social networking campaigns, guerrilla marketing campaigns, and flash campaigns. We have never had so many options to choose from, and so many options that appear to be low-cost or even free. It’s the golden age of advertising and promoting your business, isn’t it? It’s easy to promote your business to new customers. Do everything that articles like this tell you to do with all this new technology, sit back and watch the millions roll in. Except that hasn’t necessarily happened, has it? One of the things it appears advertisers and marketers have forgotten (or possibly have never known) is that there are some fundamental rules of

With so much advertising going on, it’s almost impossible to get your message to stand out from the crowd

advertising communication. What seems to have happened is a huge game of Chinese whispers over the years - by the time the message arrives, it bears no resemblance to the original. The traditional techniques of getting your message across and engaging with customers have been lost. This is made all the more damaging by the fact that, with so much advertising going on, it’s almost impossible to get your message to stand out from the crowd. Never has the art of communication been so important, and never has the quality of many advertising messages been so weak. Many of the copywriters are like


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hamsters on a wheel, churning out any old advertising copy. I’m not saying that all adverts don’t work or that all adverts are bad, but that more businesses need to engage customers by asking questions. Is there anyone in your life that you believe everything they say, without question? They are always right and never lie. Usually, delegates in my workshop tell me that there’s nobody in their life like this. At that point I ask a series of questions and they realise that person is himself or herself. We believe everything we say and if we’re not sure, we know we’re not sure. So, if I try and tell you something, you are not going to believe what I say without question, are you? You pass everything through your own “truth filter”, accepting what you believe and agree with, and reject the rest. But bypassing this truth filter is easy. If I want you to believe what I’m saying quickly, rather than me telling you, wouldn’t it be better if I could get you to tell me the answers? In other words, if I ask you the right question and you give me the right answer, you’ll tell me, what I wanted to tell you. The beauty of this is that when you tell me, you tell yourself at the same time, and you will believe it to be true. Hence the best way to sell isn’t to tell customers what they need, but to ask them what they want. A lot of marketers are going wrong; they are busy telling us what we need instead of engaging with us. I don’t know about you, but I hate being told what to do. If you’re looking to bring customers to your business, you’ll need to engage with them and that means you must ask them a question.

The beauty of this is that when you tell me, you tell yourself at the same time, and you will believe it to be true

Not just any question, the right question, to put the right words in their mouth. To create the right question you first need to consider what your product or service does for the customer: • How does it benefit them? How does it do this? • What does your product or service do that is different? • What makes a customer buy your product? For example, my business helps my customers grow their sales through improving their sales teams, growing their teams and helping them become better at selling their product or service. • Q: What does my customer really want? • A: Better sales staff, bringing in more sales, and making their business grow. So the question might be: Would improving your sales staff bring more sales and help grow your business? If they answer yes, they’ve already started buying into me, as it will engage them to read the rest of the advert. So, the answer, as in Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, is actually a question.


Adam Caplan runs international sales training company, Cellular Attitude, as well as his sales recruitment company, Unique Sales Professionals, based in Leicester Square. He provides pre-trained sales staff to businesses as well as delivering his unique brand of sales training.

Contact: cellularattitude.co.uk


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29/07/2013 13:31

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Game, set, and match Inspired by Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win, Kimberley Davis tells us what makes a business champion

atching Andy Murray win Wimbledon was exhilarating. He had the weight of Britain on his shoulders and he rose to the challenge. As I watched him play, I thought: “What makes Andy Murray, and business champions, different?” Here’s my list on how to win: 1. When pressure comes, keep level headed. You have to be 100% focused and believe you can reach your goals. 2. Focus on the present. Don’t forget the past, but don’t take it with you. In the early days of watching Murray, once he lost one unfair point, he couldn’t let go of it. The Andy Murray who won Wimbledon was able to put those feelings aside. 3. Be patient. Each point in this final was taking up to 25 strokes in 30-degree heat. And who lost the point? The player who tried to win too soon. You can’t win in five minutes. There is a process. Point by point. Game by game. Set by set. Match by match. 4. Play offence, not defence. You need to be breaking boundaries, creating new products and services, and moving your business, or


maybe even your industry, forward. 5. Find a coach. Find someone who has the formula to success and can teach it to you. 6. Don’t get cocky – Murray had three Championship points in a row and blew it. Why? Because he got cocky and thought he had it in the bag. He nearly lost the set because of it. 7. Surround yourself with positive people who support you. Andy’s team silently contribute to his success. Without them, he would never have been able to achieve such great heights. 8. ‘Huge risk and huge reward’ Boris Becker said. Andy risked his education and another career in order to take a chance and pursue his dream. Champions have to take great risks. 9. Understand your opponent. Know their weaknesses and strengths. 10. Create a strategy and adaptability. Tennis and business isn’t just a matter of skill, you must think clearly and instantly how to win against your opponent with each stroke. The strategy is constantly changing.

11. Build on momentum. Murray was down in the second set, and not only came up from being down, he surpassed, excelled, and won. 12. Speed - Murray was all over that court. He was super fast. Businesses which act with speed and precision are able to get ahead and stay ahead. 13. Never give up – Murray has been so close to winning Wimbledon before. A true champion does what it takes to succeed. I saw a great quote yesterday; “You are not defeated when you lose. You are defeated when you quit.” I couldn’t agree more.

Murray has been so close to Wimbledon before. A true champion does what it takes

Kimberly Davis is the founder of Sarsaparilla Marketing. Contact: sarsaparillamarketing.com


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25/07/2013 18:32


Seven Wonders of the World Wide Web Managing director of social media agency Battenhall, Drew Benvie, reveals the seven (stereo)typical social networking personalities. Which one are you?


here are seven sisters, seven sins, and seven swans a-swimming. And it turns out that there are also seven typical social media personalities. Whether you’re Pete the Tweet, an Oversharing Oli, or Gen C Gemma, we have no doubt that one of these will be you - but hopefully Terry the Technophobe will be alone in his notebook-filled office. (Any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental - we’re not Stalking Stephens!)

We all know an Oversharing Oli; one minute they’re letting the world know they got up too early… the next minute (literally) they’re posting an Instagram photo of their muesli

Oversharing Oli We all know an Oversharing Oli; one minute they’re letting the world know they got up too early/too late/on the wrong side of the bed, the next minute (literally) they’re posting an Instagram photo of their muesli, before letting us know that they’ll “probably get the Northern Line today” and “isn’t it lovely out” and “oh no it’s actually quite cold I should have put a scarf on”. Do we

really need a picture of your cat asleep on your sofa to show up on our news feed? I think not. But then again, it is quite cute.

Polly-personality In real life, there is one Polly. She is only one person, but depending on who she’s with, she can act out a number of different personas, and this is amplified online: the quiet worker who happily gets on with her job by day, the

cynical employee in the kitchen at lunch, and the wisecracking lush by night. It was once accepted to act in the same way on social media, but those times have changed. Nowadays, employers are able to scope you out as

a person on Facebook or Twitter, seeing what you are like in normal life as well as working life. So, Polly, you’re better off just being yourself all the time!

Spammer Steve Spammer Steve gets on our nerves. Every time our phone goes off we know it’s a notification telling us he’s reposted a pointless


picture or video. And every day without fail, at the same time he posts an overly positive link-filled tweet. We don’t even need

to look at the URL to know we don’t want to visit it. Find some new (original) material Steve.


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Gen C Gemma Those part of the Generation C movement - concerned with creation, connection and community - are big on bringing their own creativity, and nowhere is better than Twitter when

it comes meeting likeminded people. It’s the social network defining personality, and Gen C Gemma is constantly connected and ready to tell it as it is, tweeting whilst working and playing. Her

bio reads: “My thoughts are my own and not of my employer”. Falling in with the right crowd, Gen C Gemma could go far in the new media world, and so could her self-curated community.

Pete the Tweet Pete the Tweet is the new Alastair Campbell: a spindoctor for the internet age. Often, Pete’s are employed by companies or famous individuals, there to tweet when necessary on another’s behalf. It can be just one person, or a team of people tweeting like mad

to promote a company. For example, Barack Obama’s Twitter feed is open about the fact that it’s not run

by the President himself, however tweets from the president are signed “–bo” to differentiate.

Pete the Tweet is the new Alastair Campbell: a spindoctor for the internet age

Barry Scott Barry isn’t real. He’s a personality that has been applied to a product that someone in a marketing department is trying to bring to life through advertising and social media. Brands are often

personalities online, talking to people as if they are real. The truth is, someone really is Barry, the same as someone is Brian the Confused.com robot, Gio Compario, and Aleksandr Orlov, but

what’s real and what’s fake on social media nowadays can be all too complicated for any of us to understand.

Terry the Technophobe Poor Terry. He doesn’t even know what a Twitter is, let alone what library he can borrow a Facebook from. Vines are what tomatoes grow on, and every time he hears the word Instagram he thinks telegrams are back in use. But this is surely

where Apple begins its brainstorms; userfriendliness has never been so clear. With the only age limit for its products being one to 100, Terry can quickly get to grips with all the above in the swipe of a finger, maybe.

Drew Benvie helps companies and individuals apply social media technologies in PR and marketing. He writes about the future of media on his blog. Contact: battenhall.net/blog Twitter: @drewb


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25/07/2013 18:49

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Chatting to the top dog Business owners need to engage with customers, Shawn Cabral, UK marketing director of Sitecore says. Find out why the personal touch is a must in business


hen that multimillion pound company first launched, the owner was accessible. At the start of the journey, they were often at the front of house chatting to customers, remembering names, now they’ve hired other people who do that. Once success is won, a lot of owners disappear from the frontline. And who can blame them? We know business owners need time to visit clients, concentrate on the future and ultimately enjoy the success they’ve worked hard for. However,


the importance of addressing customers can’t be neglected. Following Sitcore’s recent study, Shawn Cabral says it’s more important than ever for business owners to adopt the personal touch, and enter a two-way dialogue with customers for reputation, profit and growth. The big players like Tesco, Burberry and Dixons have gone back to basics and are doing it. Richard Branson writes a blog while Alan Sugar can be found tweeting about his business. Small businesses have to do it too, and have to carry on doing it; no matter how big they grow.


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Having a digitally connected leader, who is confident in their use of digital channels is essential for any firm – big or small – pursuing business growth as the influence of the internet plays a larger role. More consumers than ever before are engaging with brands online, so there has never been a better time for business leaders to interact directly with their audiences by adopting a personal touch method of communication. The personal touch leadership approach is defined as a twoway communication process, supported by digital technology, which places business leaders in direct contact with their audience for the purpose of reputation management. Unlike a one-way approach, which sees a business leader emit information but not respond to it, or a corporate approach, which is delivered via a PR or marketing department, the twoway approach creates a direct dialogue between the business owner and its customers. Research by Sitecore reveals the performance of the personal touch firms since 2009/10 has exceeded all other firms in the FTSE 350. This is demonstrated by annual growth rates in turnover and compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in turnover and profit. Additionally, personal touch firms recorded a CAGR of 27% from 2009 to 2012, and a rate of 30% from 2010 to 2012. This compares to a rate of just 9% from 2009 to 2012, and 13% from 2010 to 2012 by the next best performing group; corporate two-way firms, compounding the commercial advantages of the personal touch leadership style. However, despite the benefits of the personal touch approach, just 7% of FTSE 350 businesses are adopting it. This means

IN PROFILE Sitecore is a global software company, developing products that solve real world problems and deliver demonstrable results. Its customer experience management platform combines web content management with customer intelligence to create a single view of a customer that drives interactions, increases conversions and builds lifetime customers. To download the full Personal Touch study visit: Sitecore.net/PersonalTouch

that in sectors where building strong customer relationships is particularly vital, a large proportion of leaders are missing the opportunity to interact effectively with their customers. Making sure a leadership team is visible and driving the business effectively is crucial for consumers so they understand the business is well led and responsive to their interests. Building up a store of goodwill has proved essential for businesses, should they come up against a crisis or any other kind of issue. The general interest, which now surrounds business leaders, means the personal touch approach is a relatively easy and effective way of engaging with consumers to encourage loyalty and attract new prospects. The value in the approach is compounded by the fact that the research highlights that online traffic and interest from customers and stakeholders increases if the business owner uses the personal touch. There are some very important lessons to be learned from the personal touch research and the, apparently

Richard Branson writes a blog while Alan Sugar can be found tweeting about his business


slow adoption of this leadership style. In the ever-changing digital landscape, where the number of social media users is continuing to grow, the majority of business owners are missing out on a valuable opportunity to engage their stakeholders in a meaningful dialogue directly, and boost the commercial growth of their firm as a result. The personal touch approach does not have to start and end with the owner interacting with customers; it should embody the whole approach to business, by listening, responding and anticipating the needs of customers and stakeholders, to produce a more loyal, sustained customer relationship that will stand the test of time. Modern digital marketing systems can help with the delivery of the personal touch across all available digital channels, such as the web, mobile, social media and email, and bring together the offline and online world, to make sure every interaction someone has with your business enhances their experience.


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25/07/2013 18:52

Colour me right

Founder of Style Psychology consultancy, Kate Nightingale, explores colour theory and why it’s so important for businesses to pick the right pigment he colours we use in any marketing material like branding, logos, websites, posters and leaflets are very important. Colours are one of the first things we notice, then we see shapes and seek more information, but colours automatically trigger emotions and a reaction to that company or brand. Not enough companies utilise colour association; they don’t think about their brand or company mission in relation to colours. Before they choose colours they need to know what they want to portray, who they are and where they’re going.



Using the wrong colours can be detrimental to a company because it will cause miscommunication, for example not many financial companies use red, because it’s associated with debt, and if they did, their prospective customers might be put off. Instead most financial companies use sky blue, a colder, yet more reliable colour. Here is my round up of just some of the many colours your company could use; some associations might surprise you, while others are more obvious, and you will see the different shades of colour can change the meaning greatly.

Using the wrong colours can be detrimental to a company because it will cause miscommunication


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An emotional and bright colour often associated with fire, blood, power, aggression, passion, love, and desire. Often used by: retail, fashion, and creative industries. Rarely used by: financial, health and wellbeing companies. Other shades: burgundy is a colour of luxury, associated with expense, aspiration, elegance and class.


The colour of the sky and the sea - a cold, yet trustworthy and reliable colour associated with loyalty, wisdom, intelligence and confidence. Often used by: financial, insurance and health and wellbeing companies. Rarely used by: organic food companies. Other shades: royal blue is much more energetic and denotes power. Turquoise is associated with the tropics, relaxation, spas and health, while sky or baby blue is often used on children’s toys.


A symbol of nature, harmony, growth and freshness, it also has a strong connection with safety and getting the green light to go. Often used by: eco-friendly, gardening, organic and nature companies. Rarely used by: publishing, health and legal companies. Other shades: dark green often represents money and ambition while emerald is a luxurious colour communicating luxury.


The colour of the sun, associated with joy, happiness, intellect and energy. Often used by: childcare, holiday and bread companies. Rarely used by: menswear, luxury and dating companies. Other shades: dull or yellowgreen can indicate sickness, cowardice and jealousy while amber represents obedience.


It’s a fun, attention-grabbing colour, which projects femininity and sensuality. Often used by: toy, beauty and creative companies. Rarely used by: financial and legal companies. Other shades: light pink is symbolic of baby girls while dark pink or purple is associated with royalty, power and ambition. This is only a snapshot of colour theory – there has been a great deal of research into colour psychology, which all companies should be aware of when marketing their brand and products. Most of the reactions and emotions we get from colours are subconscious. Without arming ourselves with the tools to properly analyse what those reactions and emotions could be - be it by studying the research or preferably hiring an experienced graphic designer we cannot be fully aware of our colour choices and what they will denote to customers. Not only do you need to do your research on colours but you also need to be clear on what you want to achieve and who your customers are. You

Most of the reactions and emotions we get from colours are subconscious


then need to base your colour theory around your customers, because even though most colour associations are universal, some are personal. For example, I’ve found males who work in the City wear pink shirts as they see it as indicating wealth, and read many articles that say young women are rebelling against pink because of its stereotypical values as a feminine colour. These findings could change the way you use that colour. Many experiences can contribute to the way people react to colours, like their age, nationality, upbringing, education, place of residence, likes and dislikes, and so on. When it comes to colour – do your research. Contact: stylepsychology.co.uk

In Profile Style Psychology is a consultancy specialising in the psychology of fashion, beauty and lifestyle. It provides brand consultancy, PR, marketing, advertising, consumer psycho-mapping and more.


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Likes & follows = profit Simon Gardner, head of digital at Twenty20 Media Vision advertising agency, tells us how to navigate the social media road with your bottom line in mind

any SMEs are trailblazing a path through Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other social media channels. They are more likely to be using social media more effectively than their big, corporate counterparts according to recent research from Portsmouth Business School. Maybe you’re one of those leading lights, or perhaps you’re among the 60% of small business owners who haven’t turned on to social media yet. If so, what are the best tools to use and the pitfalls to avoid along the social media road?


WHY INVEST? Start-ups and small businesses often don’t have the marketing budget of bigger brands. That’s when social media can really help. It’s a cost effective, easy way to shout louder about your brand, which will ultimately boost your bottom line. You can target and engage directly with specific customer groups, announce exclusive offers or previews, request feedback or even address grievances. Some customers will actually end up becoming evangelists for your brand, recommending you to their networks and communities too.

Regular blogging and tweeting with thoughtprovoking content will not only boost your audience of followers and potential customers, it will also help drive people back to your website. WHAT ARE THE PITFALLS? An inconsistent, not-joined-up and out of date social media voice is worse than having no voice at all. We’ve all seen ancient Facebook pages, redundant blogs or Twitter feeds that don’t link up with the LinkedIn messages. It weakens your brand and ultimately affects your sales power. Just as you can harness the speed of social media to your advantage, you need to be equally quick off the mark when it comes to responding to customer queries, feedback, reviews or complaints. Otherwise it looks like you don’t care. And when it comes to content; boring, over long, technical, text-heavy, or commercial blogs, tweets or site pages aren’t going to engage anyone. And neither is adopting a tone or style that doesn’t feel true to your product, service or brand. Customers will soon turn off.

An inconsistent, not-joined-up and out of date social media voice is worse than having no voice at all

THE GOLDEN “RT” & “LIKE” RULES Stop broadcasting; start listening and asking for opinions. Make sure you’re using the right platforms or channels for you and your business. Social media is a place where people go to see what others think before they part with their own cash – whether they’re spending £3.50 on a coffee or £350,000 on a new business contract. All of your social media communication needs to allow them to get “inside” your company and give them confidence to spend their money with you. Understand tracking. Setting up goal conversions in Google Analytics will allow you to focus your time on places that are profitable, rather than popular. Contact: 2020mv.com


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Be social

Our residential people person and BBC’s The Apprentice season four winner, Lee McQueen, shares his approach on social media

our individual and business presence on social media is important. Social media has changed the way we interact every day and I couldn’t imagine my personal or business life without it.


WHAT’S BETTER - TWITTER, FACEBOOK OR LINKEDIN? I’ve got over 12,000 followers on Twitter. I have a good audience to share blog posts, information about what I’ve been doing personally (like ‘Spurs banter), and business stuff. I post interesting stuff so I get more followers and my network grows. However I don’t get a lot of direct sales from Twitter, it’s mostly an information feed. Before The Apprentice I was on Facebook all the time, but I had to come off it when I went on the series. Now I’m back on it and use it more conservatively. In business I use it to run competitions and attract sales talent. I do put some personal material on there, but not much. I leave that to my wife, but she will only befriend people she knows, whereas I’ll accept all friend requests as I need to keep

But at Raw, we don’t judge. So even if I did see negative comments or drunken photos, if I thought that candidate had potential I’d still bring them in to see what they’re made of. You can’t tell who a person really is just by a CV and social media, but it gives you an idea.

my exposure open and gain a bigger network. For me LinkedIn is the most useful tool in business. It gives me the chance to connect with people - from clients to those seeking jobs. The amount of candidates and potential clients genuinely interested in the business and our services is larger on LinkedIn. NOTHING TO HIDE I have nothing to hide so I’m quite happy to share business as well as my personal life on social media, however social media can be bad for those who share too much of the wrong thing. Whenever I have a new candidate, I Google them and look at their Facebook and Twitter – I want to know what kind of person they are. If I read on a candidate’s CV that they like playing chess and going to bed early, but their Facebook has pictures of them getting hammered down the pub every night, I’d be disappointed that their CV didn’t reflect them. Social media should be an extension of an individual or business both need to think about their visible content carefully.

UNSOCIABLE What if I couldn’t find anything about a candidate on Google? I’d be surprised but I would assume they’re a private person. Not everyone wants to be in the limelight and that’s fine.

I have nothing to hide so I’m quite happy to share business as well as my personal life on social media

Contact: rawtalentacademy.co.uk


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bad gamble Mary Clarke, CEO of Cognisco, an employee risk assessment company, says many companies are in the dark about how their employees behave on the job

arlier this month the Parliamentary Commission report into Banking Standards, Changing Banking for Good made several recommendations about how banks could clean up their acts following recent scandals and failures. One of the most notable recommendations was that senior bankers guilty of “reckless misconduct” should be jailed. Making bankers responsible and liable for their actions might bring about some changes, however will these recommendations really tackle the root cause - human error? In recent months, we have also read about similar failings due to human error in the NHS, and I believe there are many other organisations that simply don’t understand how their employees actually behave in their jobs and the risks this lack of insight poses. Employee misunderstanding and inappropriate attitudes towards risk may result in significant fines and loss of


shareholder value. Analyst IDC says that 23% of employees misunderstand at least one aspect of their jobs, and that the cost of employee mistakes to UK businesses is estimated at £19bn annually. Apply this globally and the amount of money wasted because businesses have been complacent about employee competence and risk, is astronomical. There is also the reputational risk for the board and subsequent impact this can have on share price and the ability to trade and borrow, which can have a devastating effect. Companies need to find ways of identifying, and then managing, individuals whose behaviour could be deemed reckless, risky and unacceptable. The first step is for companies to have better insight into the drivers of employee behaviour and ensure their employees are competent and confident when carrying out their duties. To do this, they need to have procedures in place to measure competency

The cost of employee mistakes to UK businesses is estimated at £19bn annually


and behaviour, which are embedded into every part of the business. However, while many companies adopt a robust approach to recruitment and put new recruits through their paces using psychometric and competency assessments, it is often the last time that employees are assessed. Many individuals will move through the ranks within a company, and their employers won’t really know if they are competent in their roles. One way of mitigating these risks is for companies to introduce competency frameworks. The framework will outline the core competencies, the desired level of employee knowledge, motivation, behaviour and experience needed for each role. Then employees need to be regularly assessed against these frameworks. One way of doing this is by introducing situational judgment competency assessments that can provide accurate, factual and objective results. The assessments that tend to produce the most accurate results are those with welldesigned questions, which are validated by occupational psychologists and measure a combination of competency, knowledge and confidence in the application of that knowledge and other behaviours. The recent scandals in banking and in the NHS have highlighted the need for organisations to gain a better understanding of their people and how they behave at work. It seems clear that processes and systems need to be put in place so that organisations can assess their people – and really understand their star performers as well as those that might be risky for business. Contact: cognisco.com


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Secret diary of an entrepreneur Clare Yarwood-White, founder of Create a Craft Business, which offers mentoring and support to businesses, reveals a typical week

with delegating some of the designing and making process if you want to grow your business. A light-bulb moment for some of the designers, but they seem keen to rise to the challenge. The participants are given a business plan template to complete in their own time, and will submit it to me at the end of the course.

lare Yarwood-White founded her successful jewellery business, Yarwood-White in 2003. Her designs were stocked in Liberty of London, and sold through Notonthehighstreet. com. Following the birth of her two children, she sold the company and set up Create a Craft Business, to help designers grow their own ventures.


DAY 1: PASSING ON WISDOM Week one of my four-week workshop kicks off this morning. The workshop takes place online, so participants are located all over the country, and we have one person taking part from Portugal. I spend three hours online discussing business models, planning and profitability with the participants, who are all in the process of establishing and growing creative businesses. I’m pleased that there are lots of great questions and contributions, which makes for a fun and productive morning. We often discuss how being a designer is very different to running a design company, and that you have to be comfortable


I spend three hours online discussing business models, planning and profitability with the participants

DAY 2: OVERSEEING THE SHOOT An early start, a juggle with childcare, and a train up to Shepherds Bush where I’m consulting on a photoshoot for one of my clients. The client is an online retailer selling gifts and clothes for pregnant women and new mums. We have a plan for the day and a big pile of products to get through. The work involves styling the products, keeping to schedule, and checking small details to make sure the finished photos are useful from a commercial point of view. The team includes two models, two photographers, a hair and make-up artist and an assistant. After a quick briefing meeting we get to work. On the way home, I make debrief notes for the client

on what we can consider improving next time, but overall a very successful day with some great photos taken. DAY 3: READING AND REVISION A day at home and the chance to catch up on some reading. I always have a few books on the go, scattered around the house so I can grab five minutes with one wherever I am. I enjoy business books, biographies and wellbeing titles, because as a mum I am always striving to find that elusive balance between work and home life. I am currently reading Business Model Generation, by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur, and feel excited about how I can apply the “canvas” technique to my own business, as well as my clients’ businesses. I am always advising my clients to work on their businesses as well as in them, and this is my opportunity to do the same.  Feeling all fired up, I work late into the evening, revisiting my own business plan, scribbling notes and finally make some updates to the services I offer on my website.


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DAY 4: NEW FOCUS Time to focus on new business, and where the money is coming from. I follow up leads, chase previous enquiries that have gone quiet, and schedule some email marketing campaigns. My business has been running for less than a year, but I am starting to see new business in the pipeline now, rather than an empty diary ahead of me. I’m also pleased that I am getting repeat business now; clients who have attended my workshops are following it up with mentoring, or mentoring clients are coming back for more after six months or so. Having worked in the wedding industry for nearly ten years, where repeat business is not part of the retail model - this makes a refreshing change. I notice that my database is getting larger now, so I spend some time segmenting it to create more tailored communications. Hopefully this will result in improved responses and fewer unsubscribes.  I update my accounts, chase outstanding invoices, generate


new ones and check the budget to see if I am on track. DAY 5: NEW CLIENT This morning I start work with a new mentoring client; a high-end interior designer who has recently moved to a new area, and is using the move as an opportunity to refresh her offering. We look at redefining the market she is targeting, to improve her profitability, letting go of the clients that take too much of her resources for too little reward. We address some issues with her current branding, to make the business more appealing to her new target, and schedule a follow up meeting to review progress and tackle the marketing plan. In the afternoon, I prepare materials and organise my thoughts for the face-to-face workshop running tomorrow morning.

My business has been running for less than a year, but I am starting to see new business in the pipeline

Contact: createacraftbusiness.com Twitter: @clareywhite


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People power The Chemistry Group, expert in solving people problems, has composed a list of three key practices that could improve productivity, efficiency and staff wellbeing in your business

he Chemistry Group believes in practicing what it preaches, so the business practices listed here are all currently used internally, to great success.


1. Staff development Staff development is an essential aspect in creating a motivated and capable workforce. People are key to a company’s success, and while many companies will make the claim that it is their staff that makes them great, not enough truly give employees the time and space for sustained personal development. At The Chemistry Group, every member of staff is given six hours a week on personal development; this time is spent on non-client related work, and can be used to learn a new skill, catch up on industry reports, or simply to meditate, if that’s what helps them grow.


2. Hire right An essential factor in building and maintaining a strong workforce is hiring the right people. Recruitment is too often seen as time consuming and boring; this can lead to hasty hirings that often turn out to be disastrous for a business. The Chemistry Group estimates that about 75% of corporate hiring is inaccurate, which simply means that businesses are not spending enough time defining what “good” looks like for a particular role. 3. Holidays are essential A key practice every business should adopt is: go on holiday. Some workers pride themselves in not using up their annual holiday allowance; here, that’s a real no-no. From observation and internal staff feedback, the company finds that being well rested directly correlates to increased levels of creativity and innovation. These steamroll

Being well rested directly correlates to increased levels of creativity

into boosting morale levels across the workforce and creating a climate of success within the business. Salim Earle, business analyst at The Chemistry Group, comments: ‘It’s all too easy to neglect personal development when there’s work to be done. However, the impact of not developing staff will be directly linked to the amount of work you will have in the future, because businesses can’t be sustained, and certainly can’t grow, unless their people are growing with them. Resist the urge to focus on client work and think about your own development and subsequent upward movement in business.’ Loz Makepeace, head of “amazing” at The Chemistry Group, said of not taking all your annual leave: ‘Too many people think that not taking a holiday is going to help them succeed within their business. In fact, it is going to have exactly the opposite effect, because not getting enough rest and time away will directly impact on your performance at work. The old epithet of recharging your batteries really does run true, and is something that should not be ignored. It is not cool to not use your holiday; it is there for a reason.’ Contact: thechemistrygroup.com


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Bending backwards Should you do somersaults for your staff? David Foskett, UK division vice president of sales and marketing at ADP payroll services, tells us why flexible working is essential for SMEs uring the last twelve months we’ve seen a wave of research and discussion surrounding the subject of flexible working. This culminated when Employment Relations Minister, Jo Swinson, made calls for employers to offer greater flexibility to staff. Is this just an issue for big businesses with a large workforce, or can SMEs gain from flexible working too? At the heart of this issue lies the notion, as suggested by Swinson, that flexibility can play a role in motivating staff – something all organisations, large or small, shouldn’t ignore. Indeed, recent research carried out by ADP found flexibility to be one of the top motivators for UK workers. When asked what motivates and engages them, aside from pay, almost a quarter (24%) cited the ability to work ‘when and where I want to’. And this is set to rise; 32% of the same sample expect flexible working to play a role in keeping them motivated and engaged over the next decade. This insight into future expectations can help businesses put their flexible working plans in place. The emergence of such a trend is unsurprising when considering the cultural shift the workplace will


When asked what motivates and engages them, aside from pay, almost a quarter (24%) cited the ability to work ‘when and where I want to’

see in the coming years, as “baby boomers” retire and generations X and Y take over. The sentiment of Swinson’s call for businesses to change traditional working cultures is understandable. But what businesses really need to do is prepare for the inevitable change in working culture, as the younger generations – who expect flexibility – become a core recruitment group. With that in mind, employers who turn their backs on flexibility could be setting themselves up for problems in the future. What happens in a few years when the younger generations become managers, clients or prospects? Businesses that can’t offer the flexibility they expect, will put themselves at a real disadvantage. Perhaps most importantly, ADP’s research found the desire for flexibility was most prevalent among those working in small businesses. At a time when the UK is experiencing a substantial skills gap and the war for talent continues, companies offering potential recruits greater freedom, independence and a healthy work-life balance could make all the difference to the productivity and engagement of their workforce. Upcoming legislative changes (extending the rights

of employees to request flexible working in 2014, and shared parental leave in 2015) should go some way to delivering greater flexibility. But the most successful instances will be where a business has thought carefully about its flexible working policy, communicated any changes to its staff effectively, and made a firm commitment to instil flexibility as a core internal value for commercial reasons. Businesses can then take advantage of cloud-based technology to keep staff connected, monitor their productivity, and stay in contact in order to prevent any sense of isolation brought on by the change in work environment. Above all, listening to what staff require, responding appropriately, and putting choices in place, will help businesses attract and retain talent, which will heighten productivity and help them to stay competitive. Contact: adp.com


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How important is networking? Dawn Murden headed to the Business Junction networking event at Searcys, in Knightsbridge, to grill guests on the importance of business networking 1. SURJIT SOLANKI, NEW SALES SPECIALIST AT CIRRUS, PROVIDER OF CLOUD-BASED CONTACT CENTRE SOLUTIONS “They say it’s not what you know but who you know. It’s good to meet new people, find out what they do, and hopefully become a resource to that person. They may not be a direct client or customer but they could have a friend, colleague or client interested in your business. Some businesses don’t have the money to advertise and build their business solely through networking.” This was Surjit’s first time at a Business Junction event. 2. GRACE FREDRICKS, DIRECTOR OF HYONA CLEANING COMPANY, A COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL CLEANING SERVICE “I like meeting people in person because then they can see how passionate and confident I am about what I do. I’d say 98% of my customers come for networking and referrals.” Grace joined Business Junction two months ago. 3. STEPHEN BENJAMIN, DIRECTOR OF GRAHAM STEPHENS & COMPANY, A COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY CONSULTANT “Networking at events like this can be better pro rata than advertising for small businesses. Every Business

Junction event will give you access to at least 30-40 different businesses. Business Junction is the best by far, other companies have tried to be too formal and it actually becomes a chore attending. As a member of Business Junction, you can attend events as little or as much as you’d like.” Stephen attends around four Business Junction events every two months. 4. RENATA MUCSKA, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE AT THE APARTMENT SERVICE, THE LARGEST EUROPEAN SERVICED APARTMENT PROVIDER “Networking gets you and your company’s name out there. It’s great for meeting different companies, future clients and gaining referrals. Word of mouth is so powerful.” Renata attends around two Business Junction events a month. 5. TONY MUNDELLA, FOUNDER OF FRANCHISE MANAGEMENT, A BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANCY TO THE FRANCHISE ARENA “I tried advertising but it did very little for me. I’ve never met a direct client or customer at an event, but I’ve built good long-term relationships that give me contact referrals.” This was Tony’s first Business Junction event.

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6. TREBY SWINGLER, STORYTELLER AT FLEX, THE MAGAZINE PEOPLE WHO HELP BUSINESSES COMMUNICATE WITH STAFF AND CUSTOMERS THROUGH PRINT AND ONLINE PUBLICATIONS “I like people, and meeting new people, and Business Junction enabled us to find a client, which doubled our income. The Business Junction events are fantastic because they’re informal, no one takes themselves too seriously and they’re held at fantastic locations.” Treby has attended 25 Business Junction events. Contact: businessjunction.co.uk


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First impressions

Do you think enough about your image? What you wear, how you decorate your office and where you take clients is crucial in business o you know how long it takes to form an impression of someone? Three seconds. The process is purely subconscious, but once it’s happened it’s hard to turn around a first impression. Retail and consumer behaviour expert, Kate Nightingale says many business owners don’t think about first impressions or their image enough. ‘They create nice cards and a website but they turn up to a meeting looking completely different to the virtual image they’ve created,’ she says. ‘How you look communicates a lot about a person – our subconscious mind registers even the tiniest details and uses them to form an internalised image of a person – there is no room for a mistake. ‘A stain on your trousers, a creased shirt, mismatched colours, baggy eyes, they all say something about you and even if we don’t consciously notice it, our subconscious mind does.’ We’re not talking about just indulging in the latest fashion;


a business image is created by everything – where you take clients, how your office is decorated and where it’s located, where you hold events, your website design, your business cards, the hotels you stay in – the list is endless. ‘If your choice of meeting venue does not go with your brand, you’re projecting confusing information,’ Kate says. ‘Consistency of communication is extremely important – if you confuse your clients this may have an effect on their trust in your abilities.’ For example, should a vegan company take clients to a steak house for lunch? Or should a creative company choose a restaurant chain with no character? No. If you work from home, you may think your image doesn’t matter because no one can see you, but you’re wrong. ‘Your image can have an effect on your emotions, thoughts and behaviour,’ Kate says. ‘For example how you write emails, how effective or creative you are, and so on.’

Our subconscious mind registers even the tiniest details and uses them to form an internalised image of a person

Everything to do with your image can change the way you feel. Waking up in a rundown B&B with a shared bathroom before a big client meeting won’t make you feel like a winner – to aspire to success you need to project success. Part of that is feeling happy and confident in yourself and your surroundings. A survey by AXA PPP Healthcare found that two-thirds of SMEs agreed that if employees started smiling more at work it would have a positive impact on business performance. But who can crack a smile when they’re sitting in a badly decorated office with no windows? Laura Demetriou, who edits fashion and lifestyle magazine, Six out of ten says: ‘Image will only take you so far, it can’t count for experience and talent but it speaks volumes about you and your line of work.’ That’s why Talk Business is full of useful tips and advice on subjects like marketing, strategy, and money, but we also think image deserves a focus too. So, welcome to our new image section and enjoy.


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CHARGE Camilla and Marc Dress, £174, Stylebop Hallie jacket, £169, Fenn Wright Manson Fearne Cotton shoes, £50, Very


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Hot spots


Every month we feature four of the best UK locations for SMEs to meet clients, stay away, and hold events, plus hubs and offices to set up shop

MEET, DRINK, EAT HISPANIA RESTAURANT Where? Lombard Street, London. A location notable for its connection with the City merchant banking and insurance industries, stretching back to medieval times. What? More than 9,000 square feet is part of the historic Lloyds TSB building, transformed by interior designer, Lorenzo Castillo into a showcase for Spanish cuisine. The two-level restaurant includes a delicatessen, takeaway, a wine and sherry bar, tapas bar and fine dining. Why choose Hispania? Eat delicious food rustled up by a Michelin-starred chef at a reasonable price (£20 per head for lunch) while soaking up the Mediterranean atmosphere, or choose a quieter private space


for important events and client meetings. Contact: hispanialondon.com AWAY ON BUSINESS ROCKLIFFE HALL HOTEL Where? Just outside the village of Hurworth in County Durham. What? It’s an AA-rated 5* leisure resort set within 375 acres on the banks of the River Tees, with 71 spacious guestrooms and suites, two bars, three restaurants, 12 meeting rooms, an 18-hole golf course, plus a swimming pool and spa. Why choose Rockliffe? It’s the perfect hub if you’re doing business in Durham, Newcastle, York or Leeds, which are all nearby. At £170 per night it’s a bit of a luxury stay, but after a dip in the pool or treatment in


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The Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (ICE)

Rockliffe Hall

Altitude the spa you’ll feel refreshed and ready for the day ahead, or a round of golf with your client! Contact: rockliffehall.com EVENTS AND GATHERINGS ALTITUDE Where? Located in the Millbank Tower on the bank of the Thames. What? A Grade II-listed building offering six flexible meeting spaces holding up to 600 delegates, allocated to five floors. It also has a restaurant. Why choose Altitude? It offers the latest high-tech conferencing facilities,

including free Wi-Fi and AV equipment in each of its event rooms. The venue can also cater for cocktail events, private parties and the Millbank Media Centre can host private screenings of films. Plus the uninterrupted 360º views of London are guaranteed to impress guests. Contact: deverevenues.co.uk/ locations/altitude OFFICES AND HUBS THE WELSH INNOVATION CENTRE FOR ENTERPRISE (ICE) Where? Five miles off the M4 near Newport in South Wales.

What? A centre offering conference, restaurant, hotel and crèche facilities, alongside mentorship and financial support for member businesses that can rent a desk, office or wing depending on their needs. Why choose the ICE? The centre provides a supportive community where businesses are encouraged to socialise and collaborate with each other to reach success. The fresh start-up hub has welcomed 50 new (and more established businesses) through its doors in the last 12 months. Contact: welshice.org


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We love… This month, our favourites include bespoke tailors on scooters and stylish free website building. Enjoy! SUITS YOU SIR Whether you’re on top of a building site or at a hotel, Henry Herbert Tailors will come to you. It’s a bespoke suit and shirt-making service with a difference; the tailors visit customers around the clock on their custom built Vespa scooters. Everything is made in England too. A two-piece suit will set you back £1,095, while shirts cost £160 each. Contact: henryherbert.com GET ONLINE If you want to build the perfect website but have little to no budget and don’t know where to start, log on to Wix. It’s a free websitebuilding platform for aspiring entrepreneurs. With stylish, easyto-use templates and the option to add business apps, it’s no wonder it has 35 million users worldwide. Contact: wix.com HOW INVITING From personalised stationary to corporate invitations, luxury stationer Ananya creates contemporary items with an exotic Eastern design for any occasion. Its pieces are often enhanced with hand-finished embellishments. Notecards are £25 for a set of eight. Contact: ananyacards.com

ECO-DRINKING Want to show you’re an ecoconscious company? Buy your water cooler bottles from the UK’s ethical water company, Belu. It’s just launched a 18.9L bottle suitable for all water coolers. Belu is 100% carbon neutral and donates all profits to WaterAid. Contact: belu.org


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tECHNOLOGY Our resident tech expert, David Richards, discusses Mark Carney’s appointment as Bank of England Governor, and how it breaks the British mould s Brits have a reputation of being reserved, uptight and stuck in the past compared to the rest of the world. If you ask most people out here in the US, I bet they’d say we’re a little too traditional for our own good, and for the most part, I’d have to agree. As a nation, we often seem reluctant to break the mould, preferring to stick to the well-trodden path. Which is why the Government’s decision to hire Canadian, Mark Carney, as the Bank of England’s new Governor smacks of distinctly un-British thinking, for all the right reasons. This appointment would have seemed unthinkable 10 years ago. By hiring Carney, the Government has shown they’re prepared to break the bank to land the man they think will change tradition and leave a lasting impact. His CV suggests he’s more than up to the task – he’s widely credited with helping Canada’s economy recover faster from the global downturn than any other major developed nation. When I visited Toronto, the level of construction taking place amazed me. The financial crisis is very much in Canada’s history, thanks


to Carney’s cool command as Governor of the Bank of Canada. UK businesses are going to be hoping that he does more than just set interest rates. If one thing’s for sure, it’s that we’re going to be working him hard for his salary. But Carney is a man from the private sector who understands business. He should know better than anyone that an economy lives or dies by the strength of its small businesses, and will be expected to steer policy to help growing companies. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, there were an estimated 4.8 million businesses in the UK at the start of 2012, employing 23.9 million people. Britain’s future lies in backing these firms. First order of the day for Carney is to ensure the Bank works with other financial institutions in making sure SMEs can get the funding they need. With the big five banks holding 90% of British business accounts, more has to be done to square up to their refusal to lend to the start-ups and growing businesses that are our economic backbone. The bank should take a broader role in educating small

business owners about the alternative funding sources out there that are helping UK businesses. By granting the relevant regulatory approval, these providers will receive the recognition and trust they need to give small businesses a financial leg up. We shouldn’t be expecting anything but the best from our new Governor. It’s time for him to get stuck in, and earn his crust by setting us on the right course to economic recovery. Contact: wandisco.com

The Bank should take a broader role in educating small business owners about the alternative funding sources out there

David is CEO and co-founder of WANdisco, a software company based in both Silicon Valley and Sheffield.


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Be more than a browser Google estimates there is around five million terabytes of data online. How can you make sense of it all with profit in mind? Richard May, sales director at social media monitoring firm Spotter, explains how PICK YOUR SOURCES Each day vast amounts of data is shared online through social media platforms, blogs, apps, forums, contact pages and news sites. While it is possible to monitor every single source, it’s often not efficient to do so.


most part the data is irrelevant. It’s only when an issue quickly spreads on social media that companies should take note. It is important to have a varied range of sources, which can form the most complete picture of your industry and consumers, with different weights given to sources based on a number of factors, including usage. Social media platforms like Twitter are an obvious choice, but there are many others from which valuable insight can be gleaned, like apps. WHO HAS INFLUENCE IN YOUR INDUSTRY? By assessing whose comments hold most weight in your industry, you can identify key influencers and bid to turn them into brand ambassadors – speaking positively about your business. It can often be surprising that those with the most influence in an industry may actually differ significantly from popular opinion. Influencer identification has been a strong topic for some time now; however out-of-thebox solutions merely skim the surface. As a company, you must determine who is truly influential in your arena, relating to your products or services, something that can only be realised through a tailored

By grasping and monitoring what is being said about your competitors online you are able to not only learn from things they do well, but also the things they do badly

Many firms end up with a mass of information, which they simply cannot analyse. To gain the most from your analysis, you need to assess which sources to monitor and how much weight you will give to them. For example, social media is often where news and issues first break, but for the

influencer scoring system. This may mean that once you’ve identified the key influencers, you can reach the correct people while your competitors may just continue to talk to the same people who have traditionally been influential, but in fact have lost their power.


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causing a spread of negative sentiment. It can also be used as an early warning system, making it easier to nip the issue in the bud before it spreads.

OUTPERFORMING THE COMPETITION By grasping and monitoring what is being said about your competitors online, you are able to not only learn from things they do well, but also the things they do badly; in turn predicting areas where customer dissatisfaction may occur. For example, a competitor may launch a new product, which instantly gets terrible reviews online. Immediately through the use of social media monitoring you are able to see why people don’t like it and adapt any plans for similar products accordingly. Conversely, if they have an idea, which is a success, you can track when it was discussed, how the message was spread, who is saying it and why. There is no shame in taking a competitor’s idea and adapting it to your business. Through using both reputation and satisfaction scores you can see not only how well you fair compared to competition, but also how it is perceived by consumers – inspiring ways in which you can improve enjoyment of your products and ultimately increase sales and profitability.


PROTECT YOUR REPUTATION While it is important for firms to proactively seek out opportunities through online data, it is equally, if not more important for them to assess situations which could cause serious damage to their company’s reputation and future. To avoid a crisis it is essential that firms continually monitor not only what is being said about them, but also the sentiment with which it’s being said. For long term risk assessment, a business should carry out an initial analysis to see what the natural level of feeling towards them and their industry is. By setting this benchmark, you can then compare against it at set intervals to see how your company’s decisions have changed the sentiment towards the firm. Sentiment indexing – analysing not only the feeling but also the weight behind it and the source – is vital throughout a crisis situation for a number of reasons. Firstly, you can pre-empt risk situations by taking steps to remedy issues, which are

Using online data can be a great way of highlighting best industry practice

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS AND BENCHMARKS Using online data can be a great way of highlighting best industry practice and setting accurate, yet challenging key performance indicators. For example, a new entrant to the automobile industry may want to set targets based on the feeling towards its products, judged through a sentiment index. Over time it can assess the success of its marketing, communications and operational activities and adjust strategies accordingly. This data can explain what is normal for your industry – using reputational scoring and understanding what is expected by your consumers through satisfaction scores. Through these mechanisms, a business is able to benchmark key areas of growth and improvement based on the latest consumer insight. Contact: spotter.com

IN PROFILE Spotter, the social media monitoring and analysis firm, launched in Europe in 1998 and has since grown to a multimillion dollar business, operating in a wide range of countries including the UK, US, Canada, Spain, and Dubai. Spotter provides data to help firms outperform their rivals, gain greater understanding of their industry and consumers, and negate potential reputational risks.


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Don’t struggle to raise finance More and more SMEs are realising that they don’t have to be reliant on the banks to access finance. Whether your business is looking for extra capital to fund expansion plans, wants to improve cash flow during quieter periods or needs new equipment to fulfil orders, funding is available. Ortus Business Finance is a reliable source of funding for SMEs. With over 15 years in the commercial loan industry, the team has all of the necessary knowledge and experience to support SME clients with their financial requirements. Born from a passion to help businesses succeed during difficult financial times, we have a policy of treating each business on an individual basis, looking at individual requirements rather than just relying on numbers and credit history. Our aim is to provide the most appropriate and cost effective funding options wherever possible. When you choose Ortus to meet your funding needs, you’ll be choosing to work with a company that will look after you properly. Whilst we offer fast loans, whatever your industry, we’re not just about a quick fix. We want to work with you to make sure that you get the most competitive finance agreement with repayments to suit you. If you want to have a chat with someone about the best solution for you, give us a call. If you’ve got a query at any point during the process, give us a call. If your circumstances change once we’ve provided funding, give us a call.

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Ortus is determined to use finance to help businesses succeed. The business provides SMEs with a range of financial services: • Small Business Loans • Secured Business Loans • Equipment Leasing Small Business Loans We provide loans of up to £7k per director/partner with repayment terms of up to three years. Secured Business Loans Larger business loans from £10k to £500k can be secured against a property. Repayments can be made over a period of up to 10 years, and we offer flexibility over the choice of repayment terms. Equipment Leasing If you need to invest in a new piece of equipment, you can choose a much more manageable repayment solution by leasing the product rather than buying it and tying up a significant amount of capital in one go.

We’re flexible at Ortus. To be eligible to apply for any of our finance products you only need to meet the following criteria: • Each director/partner/sole trader applying for a loan amount must be a UK resident • You must be a homeowner, although our unsecured business loans will not be secured against your property • Applicants must be 18 years of age, or above. We’ll come back to you within 2 hours (during business hours 9am – 5.30pm) following any application. For more details about our funding options or to chat to someone about your requirements, email us on info@ortusfinance.co.uk, complete a business loan application form on our website www.ortusbusinessfinance. co.uk or give us a call on 0800 008 6938.

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The erasable era Do you know what people are saying about you online? James Kirkham, global head of social and mobile at Leo Burnett, explores the rise of cleaning up virtual reputation

veryone, from a street gangster to a captain of industry, has a rep to protect. Without it, you have nothing. Protecting your good name is an essential part of doing business. But we live in an era where everything has been logged. There is no escape from mistakes, with every transgression, however slight, noted and reported. Almost all of us have some form of digital shadow, easily accessible to anyone via search engines. Which begs the question; just how clean is your virtual reputation? For those with a less-thanspotless record, there is a growing army of people who are taking your reputation very seriously. In fact, their business and their livelihood is dependent on ensuring your name remains solid. This mysterious dark art has been dubbed online reputation management, and it’s one of the digital world’s fastest growing businesses.



Think of it as adding some virtual Tipp-Ex to your life. We’re already familiar with the carefully cultivated LinkedIn profile page, or the meticulously stage-managed Facebook profile. Online rep management takes it a step further, to Google’s page one, altering it so that only positive things about you appear there. In some ways, this altering of the past so we can no longer discern what is and isn’t true feels like the stuff of dystopian William Gibson science fiction, or George Orwell, but it’s happening now. ‘If you’re in the spotlight, then you should be investigating your online reputation,’ Simon Wadsworth, founder of reputation management company, Igniyte said. 70% of his of client base comprises high net worth individuals, from company CEOs to TV presenters, politicians and Government officials. This isn’t just about cleaning house, though. Wadsworth’s team will often look to cut off the offending

There is no escape from mistakes, with every transgression, however slight, noted and reported

material at the source, contacting the blog or site responsible for the offending material and looking to influence them through copyright infringement or libel law. ‘We can quickly ensure your social presence is intact and up to date, as the influence of

James Kirkham


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the right kind of material, like LinkedIn, will go a long way to “blasting” away unwanted attention from other lesser platforms,’ he told me. This is particularly relevant to those clients who have had “career shattering” incidents – something that ends up defining them for the rest of their working life, often due to accusations, which might have been misplaced. Being identified in a case or wrongly accused almost never comes with a full public apology, and age does not wither it. Indeed, the link-building nature of Google means the story could become stronger over time. Alternatively, some clients are looking for the service to help them achieve anonymity. This is often the case with billionaire businessmen who may not want any online pointers to their lives, or those looking to safeguard against identity fraud. This is then not some geeky internet tool, but a real crisis management service. Forget the old school PR guru who can keep celebrity client’s stories out of the tabloids Wadsworth’s team has an allencompassing approach. He talks of a TV presenter who wanted Igniyte to go through every image of him currently residing online and clean up those where he is not “looking cool enough” – like a sort of vanity vacuuming session – or the female star who had naked photos posted from her past. In the latter’s case, Wadsworth pushed the images down the search listings, giving her renewed confidence when pursuing career opportunities. I took the opportunity to examine my own digital footprint. On Googling my name, the first thing I noticed is that my search reveals another

James Kirkham right at the top; some American racing author who has the .com domain. What a cheek. Next up was my Twitter profile, confirming the Igniyte advice that attending to your social media is crucial, as it ranks so highly on the vital first page. LinkedIn covered the


anything, we react, broadcast, review, then indulge in the comment, and feedback our own feedback. There’s little wonder that we need to devise increasingly smart ways to ensure that feedback is nothing but positive. But there is a darker side to this too. Wadsworth says he’s

Simon Wadsworth

There is a darker side to this… he’s had calls from drug dealers, paedophiles, and people who are on parole, all desperate to clear their Google footprint

following five links, and with a couple of press examples in between; there was nothing that caused me to break sweat. However, a few pages down and the first questionable post appeared. Someone who I’d never met decided to tell people on a blog how rude I was, given his multiple calls and emails attempting to meet me. Crikey. Although not exactly defamatory and in all likelihood completely true, it’s the kind of response to a search engine query no one likes to see. This is where reputation management is such an attractive proposition. For me, this would be just a light airbrushing, nothing too serious. Our life is woven indelibly into a never-ending feedback loop. As soon as we partake in

had calls from drug dealers, paedophiles, and people who are on parole, all desperate to clear their Google footprint. This is where he draws the line, citing a moral code on which he’s built his business. There are plenty of clients willing to pay big money to brush up their credentials, erasing all trace of past wrongs and, in many cases no doubt, continuing on the same unsavoury path. Whatever your opinion of its ethical position, online reputation management is key for anyone who is in the public eye. For that reason we all need to sit up and take note. Your good name might be at risk if you don’t. Contact: igniyte.co.uk


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tr i En w no ! en op

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Battle of the brands

Due an upgrade? Well, take at look at these leading 4G-ready phones. Their super sleek design and fantastic features put the smart in smartphone. Which one would you choose?

Nokia VS. HTC



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Nokia Lumia 920 Sim-free from £303

4.5” 70.8 x 130.3 x 10.7mm (WxHxD) weight: 185g Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4, dual-core 1.5 GHz

Standby time (3G): 460 h, talk time (3G): 10.8 h, music playback: 74 h 8.7MP camera, PureMotion HD+ display, Here City Lens, charge without plugging in, and free music streaming. “The Nokia Lumia 920 is the flagship Windows Phone 8 smartphone, including the latest advances in Nokia PureView imaging innovation, HD+ display, free music streaming and plug-free charging.” We can understand why this colourful slimline phone was voted Reader’s Choice Smartphone of the Year. It’s super sleek, user-friendly and as durable as the 3310 once was.


HTC One Price dISPLAY siZE

Sim-free from £308



137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm (WxHxD) weight: 143g


Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 600, quad-core, 1.7GHz


Standby time: 500 h, talk time: 18 h

HIghlighted FEATURES

HTC UltraPixel camera, BlinkFeed home screen, and dual frontal speakers.


“With a sleek aluminum body, a live home screen that streams all of your favorite content, a photo gallery that comes to life, and dual frontal stereo speakers, the new HTC One is ready to reshape your smartphone experience.”


This smooth and elegant phone has an impressive and responsive screen. The BlinkFeed makes this the perfect phone to keep up to date with social media.


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26/07/2013 10:03

Buy a pizza delivery franchise with

Why buy a pizza delivery franchise? A large market: 70% of Brits ate pizza in 2011 And a growing market: The home delivery market grew by 20% between 2006 and 2011

Even during a recession: Sales at Domino’s, the UK’s largest pizza delivery operator, jumped 8.4% year-on-year at the recession’s peak

That exploits the boom in smartphones: Mobile devices have

fuelled a surge in online sales, which have grown from £2 million a year in 2006 to more than £5 million in 2012

Visit FranchiseSales.com to find out more about buying a pizza franchise – and more! Talk Business Advert - April 2013 2.indd 1

11/04/2013 10:30:15


fRANCHISE NEWS Elderly care provider scoops gold franchisor award HOME INSTEAD SENIOR Care was awarded Gold at the bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year Awards. The elderly care company was awarded for its focus on quality franchising, campaigning for better standards within its industry, innovative training, and its impressive recruitment process. Trevor Brocklebank, CEO of Home Instead Senior Care, was delighted to scoop the top award, and said: ‘Being awarded Gold in the Franchisor of the Year category is a testament to all the hard work we’ve put into creating quality franchises and jobs, whilst continually improving standards in the care industry.

‘Our practising standards are very high and we thrive on focusing on the quality of care delivered to our clients across our franchises, while continuing to build on the efficiency of our business model.’ The ceremony was held at the Honourable Artillery Company in London last month, and the winners were: bfa Franchisor of the Year Award • Gold: Home Instead Senior Care • Silver: Water Babies • Bronze: Agency Express HSBC Franchisee Support Award • Barking Mad Express Newspapers Brand Builder Award • Revive!

Renewable energy store launches franchise opportunities across UK RENEWABLE ENERGY SUPPLIER, Green Square has announced the launch of a franchise operation, inspiring entrepreneurs to aid the UKwide expansion of the brand and reach renewable energy targets. Currently, around 1.5% of our energy is provided by renewable

sources; by 2020 this figure needs to reach 15%, and 40% by 2050. Since the launch of the Green Square flagship store in Raynes Park, London, the firm has reported a surge in demand, with revenue expected to exceed £70,000 in its first year of trading and profits exceeding expectations.

The first three franchisees to join the brand will be offered franchises at a discounted price of £60,000, which Green Square claims could lead to sales of more than £1m over three years. For more information visit greensquare.co.uk

American fast food restaurant lands in UK FAMOUS AMERICAN FAST food chain, Broaster has opened its first franchise in the UK. The eatery, owned by Moe Ahmed and located on Lodge Lane in Liverpool, opened last month. ‘Broaster has more than 300 outlets in the USA and is a different kind of fast food restaurant, which I thought would be ideal,’ Moe Ahmed said. ‘We can see a lot of life returning to this part of the city and are glad to be making a contribution towards making it a genuine alternative destination to the city centre.’ Broaster is looking for more franchisees in the UK. Visit broaster. com for more information.


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in the

The Dwyer Group®, one of the world’s leading franchise organisations with over 1,600 franchisees, is expanding its Mr. Electric® brand in the UK. This could be your opportunity to explore business ownership in the demand-based services industry. Mr. Electric has developed detailed systems in the areas of marketing, operations, human resources, finance and technology that not only start you off on the right foot, but will put you quickly on the path to success. Our programmes provide top-notch training and ongoing support, which is designed to help you reach your goals, whether you are new to the industry or an existing business owner.

For more information, please contact us at:

01527 574343


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25/06/2013 15:43



Under the spotlight

Mr Electric

Vance Parsons, franchise developer at Mr Electric, tells Talk Business why start-ups and small businesses should consider a franchise WHAT IS MR ELECTRIC? Mr Electric UK is part of The Dwyer Group, based in the US. It was established in 1981 with only one brand, and has grown to become the holding company of six additional service-based franchise organisations. Mr Electric was founded in 1995 and launched in the UK in 1997. With more than 200 franchises worldwide, it has become the first and largest fully franchised electrical services company in the UK. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE FRANCHISING MODEL? According to the Office of National Statistics, a third of all start-up businesses fail within three years compared to 90% of franchises still operating after five years with 92% of them reporting profitability. The crucial difference between a small business and a franchise is the established systems implemented by an experienced team. Many business owners were searching for a better quality of life. They were working 12 to 14 hours a day and had little time for family or holidays. They then made the classic mistake of building the business around themselves and not around systems. Partnering

with a franchisor can provide owners with the necessary systems that allow them the freedom they desire. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES OF FRANCHISING A BUSINESS? Perhaps the most difficult challenge is the initial investment of time, money and energy, but in the end the process pays huge dividends. WHAT WILL FRANCHISEES GET FOR THEIR MONEY? Investing in a Mr Electric franchise gives owners the exclusive rights to the name and concept within their marketing territory, but more importantly, the brand includes years of recognition and trust that helps customers connect to the business. DO YOU OFFER TRAINING AND SUPPORT? Mr. Electric offers continuous support and training opportunities to our franchisees throughout their tenure with the brand. While initial training is extremely important, it also focuses on the continued growth of a franchise to help maintain its success, for as long as they remain a franchisee.

A third of all start-up businesses fail within 3 years compared to 90% of franchises still operating after five years with 92% of them reporting profitability

HOW MUCH WILL A FRANCHISE SET ME BACK? Typically the total investment required ranges between ÂŁ30,000 - ÂŁ45,000 + VAT. WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE? We intend to have a Mr Electric franchise established in every postal district in the UK within the next five years. This is a great time for existing businesses, or those looking to set up in business on their own, to join Mr Electric and to benefit from the growth, value and equity that the Mr Electric brand will create in its franchises. Contact: mr-electric.co.uk


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he ZipYard offers a professional tailoring and alterations service in a clean, purpose build environment. Our award winning business is all about outstanding customer service. Whilst there’s no other specialist alterations and tailoring centre in the area there’s numerous businesses offering similar services and competition is great. As the top performing ZipYard and 2012 Franchisee of the Year we have raised a total of 22,500 invoices. Turnover in the first year was £174,500 from 9978 customers. In the 10 months to date of our second year we are at £238,000 from 12,675 customers and on track to hit our target of £274,000 by year end.

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EARLY DAYS As a former driving instructor I was used to dealing with members of the pubic and took pride in my level of service, so when I decided on a career change I already had a very strong customer service ethos. When we first opened it was easy to turn jobs round incredibly quickly. But as word got around and our customer numbers soared, ensuring that customers were happy 100% of the time became more difficult. We soon expanded our team of seamstresses from two to five and now employ eight full time. Working in Cheshire we are dealing with high end customers with high end expectations and it’s a great responsibility working on designer garments sometimes worth over £1,000. Famous footballers and TV celebrities

including Coronation Street actress Sally Dynevor and presenter Gordon Burns bring their garments to us. Everton player Marouane Fellaini is one of our regulars. We once stayed open to fix a black tie for an awards ceremony that evening and he turned up later with chocolates for the girls to say thank you. ADDED VALUE We want our customers to believe that nothing is too much trouble. We don’t charge any extra for the express service and often carry out additional minor repairs for free. If one of the seamstresses notices a button needs replacing whilst they are turning up a hem it takes very little additional time to do the complementary work – and customers are always surprised and delighted.

29/07/2013 15:07

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Frequently people come in off the street with a button that’s just come off – we’ll fix it there and then – again for no charge confident in the knowledge that he or she will regard us as a lifesaver and talk about The ZipYard to others. SYSTEMS The sophisticated till system included as part of the ZipYard package has a customer relationship management feature which tracks customers each time they come in and allows us to make notes. If a regular is getting ready to go on holiday I can input this into the system. Then I can wish them a happy holiday when they pick up the clothes and ask them about it the next time they’re in. Building relationships is paramount– and as a result the average repeat customer visits us about once a month. Some have used us over 200 times spending several thousand pounds. Outstanding customer service means that we have to be prepared to do whatever it takes. Last year a groom and his entire male entourage turned up the day before the wedding in a panic because they had only just discovered their suits were ill fitting. We stayed open through the night to finish the work and to get the party to the church on time and looking their best.

Another customer spent over £400 altering her wardrobe after a successful diet, and an elderly lady brought in all of her clothes to be taken in - all bundled into storage boxes and carried up the high street to us. Nowadays very few people have the time or skill to mend their own clothes –and a lot of our work involves repairs - but even I was surprised when one of our regular customers brought in a pair of her son’s Y fronts for us to fix a tear! For many of our customers we have become their ‘personal’ tailors. One wellheeled man left a message on our answering machine to say his wife was bringing in a ball gown the next day so ‘please leave space on your machine’ for her. They expect a very fast service and we rarely disappoint. A regular moved out of the area but saves up his repairs until he comes back to visit friends – travelling over 160 miles for our quality of service. Grateful customers send flowers, wedding cake, thank you notes and gifts.

THE FUTURE Managing customer expectations isn’t easy and it has been a big challenge for us to be able to turn round work quickly as the volume increases. Recently we dealt with 90 paying customers in one day which is ten an hour! We already open seven days a week and are looking to employ another seamstress to focus full time on express work and have installed a second till to cope with the queues that had begun to form outside the door in busy periods. We are looking ways to extend the range of services we offer including a paid for delivery and collection service which will appeal to our busier user clientele. At the moment I manage ZipYard with the help of one other but I will be recruiting additional customer facing staff to free me up to do more marketing and work on plans to open another ZipYard in the North West.


“To Danuska with eternal thanks. You u saved my day. It means so much more than words could ever say.” - Breeda (bride) We frequently see brides who have bought a dress form the internet. On one occasion a woman came in to the centre in tears with a dress that fitted terribly –by the time we had finished she was parading up and down with a big smile on her face.

DPS August 2013.indd 117

Contact: Janet Matthews T: 01530 513307 E: jmatthews@thezipyard.co.uk W: www.thezipyard.co.uk

29/07/2013 15:07


Take one franchisee

Claudio Galdes, Go-Kart Party From teaching The Highway Code to racing, former driving instructor, Claudio Galdes, tells us how he earns a living arranging go-karting parties for kids WHY GO-KARTING? I’ve always loved children and I like working with kids. It seemed like a fairly fun thing to do and, aside from that, fairly lucrative. HOW IS IT SO FAR? The amount of hours that it takes me, in terms of my energy, input and what I get back, is good. I don’t have to work many hours in the week, only weekends. I could do four or five parties and earn as much as someone doing a full week. I spend time promoting the business too, but I have more time to read and spend time with my kids. It’s a shame that there’s a bit of a recession going on, because things could be busier. But I haven’t given a driving lesson since I started this six years ago, and I know that’s very competitive as well – there are instructors on every corner you look. Plus the hours are difficult; I’d be missing 10 hours a day. But with this, if I manage to do four parties on the weekend, I’ve done well.


ultimately I’m a musician. I don’t have a big business brain in that sense. I like to think I have, but I don’t really. HOW DO YOU CHECK THE CREDENTIALS OF A FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY? Make sure it’s something you’re going to enjoy and that you can put the commitment and time into growing the business. Do your research, try to talk to other franchisees and think about the long term commitment.  As long as it’s stood the test of time, it’s reputable - that’s the beauty of franchising; it’s tried and tested.

HOW DID YOU RAISE THE FUNDING YOU NEEDED? Through family and friends; it was easier to do it on my own. I didn’t want the financial burden of a loan. I was only a modest driving instructor, not a property tycoon, so it felt substantial. But I do have an asset and I’ve built the business up. I run the two sets of karts and I’ve got all my venues in place, so it’s an asset that I could hopefully sell for more than I paid.

Contact: go-kartparty.co.uk HOW DO YOU SUCCEED WITH GO-KART PARTY? I’m not very good at sales. However, I am very honest with people and the parties sell themselves. Practically every single phone call we get turns into a party. There are a few logistics in booking the party, because we have to hire halls. That takes a bit of time and planning, which you have to be careful you don’t trip up on. I’m not the biggest entrepreneurial person;

With this, if I manage to do four parties on the weekend, I’ve done well


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29/07/2013 15:24

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e c n a l a

b Im

Shaun Thomson, CEO of UK Sandler Training in the UK, says “office stars” are no good for business

in the workplace ou’ll all have had experience in working with someone who seems to get amazing results with zero effort. Rather than celebrating their success, other team members sit there scratching their heads, thinking they have something, they don’t. In turn, many employees feel that having an “office star” can be frustrating and de-motivating. However for business owners, these people are often heralded as precious commodities, worth double or even treble that of their counterparts – especially when they are in sales. But is this a just comparison? The fact is, there is a strong argument that these people are actually bad for business. For starters, these people create a huge imbalance in the workplace. As a top target for head hunters, businesses often make a big mistake in over paying and over promoting them – which causes unease and unhappiness in a business environment. After all, these people rarely work harder and thus do not deserve to have larger rewards. Plus, as their skills are innate, they can rarely


As a top target for head hunters, businesses often make a big mistake in over paying and over promoting them

coach colleagues to emulate their success once they receive their promotion into a position of management. It also goes without saying that these smooth operators are rarely team players. They see themselves as mavericks and the rest of the team does too. They are unlikely to follow the

rules, compounding jealousy and unease in the office. Rules only work when everyone follows them. Having people who are exceptions, or indeed feel above, of company policies undermines the whole system. Another danger is that when success is based on one person, a business has risked placing all


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its eggs in one basket, meaning they are dangerously exposed should that person leave. It also makes forecasting difficult, if they leave the company or fail to bring in the bacon for a month, the entire business feels it. These people’s predictions are usually based upon hunches and schmoozing, which makes financial planning an absolute nightmare. Company boards really want to see plans that are designed, refined and executed – not based on the whim of a smooth operator. At the end of the day, businesses thrive when there is a sense of fairness and equal opportunity. With that in mind, it’s much better for both morale of the team and longterm success of the company to invest in the development of a robust system. Having a system levels the playing field. And establishing a system needn’t be a headache. It starts off at a high level, by prioritising business objectives, and then organising the business and departments accordingly. The goals then need to be broken down into bite-size chunks and staggered KPIs, and split against


Businesses thrive when there is a sense of fairness and equal opportunity

individual workloads, so that everyone is focused and knows what is expected of them – in the short, mid and long term. People like feeling a sense of fairness and reward across the organisation. You’ll also find that sales suddenly become more predictable because you no longer have a person pulling one out of the bag before the month ends. Knowing what is important and what is expected of everyone gives a business structure that can be measured and refined over time. Some approaches and strategies won’t work, but everyone can share their learning so that best practice can be established. Moving forward, things that haven’t worked won’t be repeated; things that have yielded results can be tracked and replicated across the business. Success is a system in itself and it needs a strong foundation, with the whole business working together for a common goal. All staff can have a part to play in building and maintaining success, in turn fostering individual confidence and loyalty for

the company. Taking sales as an example – sales skills can be learnt, developed and grown over time. It starts with planning and then it is maintained by organisation. Having a business culture where everyone “is in it together” and is following best practice systems, you can be assured that your business is in a much stronger position. Having a robust and strong team is far more ideal than being held to ransom by one person that is out for themselves, not the long term development of your company. Contact: uk.sandler.com

Sandler Training is a global training organisation for SMEs and FTSE 100 companies. It also offers franchising options.


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26/06/2013 15:16


Many happy prints Long live eco-printing. KYOCERA Document Solutions is celebrating 25 years in the UK

YOCERA Document Solutions UK Ltd, headquartered in Reading, is celebrating its 25th anniversary in the UK. The company has grown organically over the last three years and now has a support centre in Milton Keynes, an established Technology Suite in London and a newly-opened Technology Suite in the centre of Manchester. Nigel Allen, marketing director for KYOCERA Document Solutions said: ‘The business was incorporated in Reading 25 years ago. Over the years, and despite significant expansion, KYOCERA has retained its head office in



Reading and we will be relocating the team to a new self-contained building in central Reading later this year.’ In 1992 the Kyoto Protocol was five years away from being agreed and 13 years away from coming into force. Yet KYOCERA was already shipping the first ECOSYS sustainable printers in the UK. The company’s heritage in ceramic technology is fundamental to the low waste design of ECOSYS printers. The long-life components used are much more durable than traditional alternatives, meaning that in most cases our printers will have a lifespan significantly longer than other printers.

KYOCERA was already shipping the first ECOSYS sustainable printers in the UK

Now, 21 years on, ECOSYS has evolved into an R&D philosophy that underpins every new product; from personal printers to high volume enterprise level multifunctional devices. KYOCERA’s commitment to the application of long-life technology allows procurement decisions to be made on the basis of an underlying product concept, rather than the individual attributes of products that could be rapidly superseded. KYOCERA believes that improving the usability of its products leads to enhanced operational efficiency for the customers that use its products.


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This doesn’t just save time; it can also reduce resource use by avoiding the waste caused by mistakes that arise when the functionality of the product is not fully understood. Producing genuinely easy-touse products, the company aims for simplicity of operation and consistent user experience across the entire product range. Director and sustainable design consultant, Mark Shayler, who has twenty years’ experience in eco-design and environmental consultancy, has advised over 800 companies and shown them how to save over £70million. He believes that better products are developed with lifecycle thinking. ‘I help my clients with this kind of challenge. As part of the process that I use with them we talk about great products and we list the attributes they like about those products - 90% of them use words like: reliability, durability, built-to-last, upgradable, quality, dependable, simple, intuitive,’ he said. ‘I’ve been running teardown workshops for 20 years and have taken apart hundreds of printers from most of the main brands. In a recent tear down, I took apart a KYOCERA multifunctional device. The build quality was excellent and the machine has been built for long life. As an added benefit, the moving parts from the toner cartridges are built into the body of the machine, which is genius. It means that when you change the toner you aren’t throwing away a load of gubbins. Over the lifetime of the product this saves a lot of resources and a lot of embedded carbon. When tearing down the machine I was struck by the simplicity of assembly. All screws were standard cross heads and most panels were clipped on. The

In Profile Kyocera Document Solutions UK provides Ireland and the UK markets with printers, and copiers, and is part of the multinational KYOCERA Corporation.

Over the lifetime of the product this saves a lot of resources and a lot of embedded carbon

in-mould labelled arrows on the panels showed where to pop them off from and all materials were clearly labelled.’ Even the packaging of KYOCERA products is carefully considered. Back in 1992 when it launched the ECOSYS printer series, KYOCERA decided to introduce eco-conscious packages for all its products. One approach was to stop using plastic-based packaging materials that had been used for cushioning and fixation, and to replace them with paper-based materials, such as corrugated cardboard and moulded pulp. KYOCERA’s ECOSYS printers are quite unique because toner is the only consumable. When the toner runs out, all you need to replace is the actual toner cartridge. The ‘toner’ cartridge that goes into other printers often contains far more than toner; some can contain over 60 separate parts. KYOCERA’s lowwaste ECOSYS design means that 85% less waste is produced during the life of the printer and the simpler, smaller and lighter toner boxes have a lower transport footprint than their more complex alternatives. KYOCERA’s growth is supported by a unique corporate philosophy, which incorporates a commitment to

excellence, the environment and individual fulfilment. The synergy between a highly trained and motivated UK workforce, the company’s philosophical heritage and unique technology continues to deliver tangible benefits to customers in the public, private and third sectors worldwide. ‘The UK is a unique market for KYOCERA and we take a distinctive approach to doing business here,’ adds KYOCERA Document Solutions UK Ltd, managing director, Jun Okumura. ‘We are recognised globally as a leader in managed document services. Our methodology was awarded The Managed Print Services Association’s (MPSA) Leadership Award for Best Practices 2012, and our range of printer and multifunctional devices (MFD) regularly receives independent accolades and glowing reviews. Our strong growth and great success is due to our network of channel partners. We do not sell direct in the UK, and working with our partners means our users are assured of best of breed technology and excellent customer support at all times.’ Contact: kyoceradocumentsolutions.co.uk


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Social media or anti-social meteor? Does social media cause more problems for employers? Richard Cummings, principal consultant at HR Insight reveals top tips to tackle the challenges

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BUSINESS In 1994 the internet arrived, providing businesses with a global platform to promote their services. Now, almost 20 years later, we’re experiencing the next phenomenon, social media. This provides businesses with opportunities to interact with their customers, provide updates on offers, and gain feedback in a way that was not possible before. THE CHALLENGES However, as we embrace this new media, challenges come. The same channels are available to employees and questions therefore arise: How far can employers go in monitoring the activity of their employees in this space? What can businesses do to enforce their policies? When can comments made between or about colleagues be considered bullying? What sanctions can be imposed for posted comments that damage an employer’s reputation? HOW BIG IS SOCIAL MEDIA? Facebook is indisputably the most popular social media site with over one billion registered users globally. The micro-blogging site, Twitter announced last year that it had reached 140 million active users worldwide with 340 million daily tweets. One tweet or status update can

How far can employers go in monitoring the activity of their employees in this space?

quickly go global affecting, positively or negatively, the reputation of businesses, the people that work in them, and the credibility of products or services. It is certainly a problem that is growing. Latest research on employees using social media shows: • One in every 10 employees has experienced a manager using social media activity against them.

• One in 14 has posted embarrassing videos on social media sites, originating from the workplace. • One in 10 has discovered comments on them that have been posted by their colleagues. • 71% have admitted to wanting to post comments about colleagues, but have so far refrained from doing so! (Watch this space!)


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If… an employer posted negative comments about their own employees, large awards would be anticipated

HOW ARE EMPLOYERS REACTING? We are seeing some interesting case law in this area. Obviously, if the situation was reversed and an employer posted negative comments about their own employees, large awards would be anticipated. But what about the other way around? Employees do not have a free reign to post every negative thought they have for the world to see. There are factors however, which must be taken into consideration depending on the post in question. A tribunal recently overturned a dismissal where an employee had posted negative remarks about her working environment, because she claimed that due to the small number of viewers (or friends) to the comment; the damage to the company was negligible, if anything at all. Despite this, employers must be able to acknowledge that if an employee has damaged, or had an intention to damage, the reputation of the employer then dismissal could be legitimate. A number of tribunals have supported employers in this, including instances of cyberbullying. There is obviously a distinct difference about posting general comments about the business or working environment to posting


derogative comments about work colleagues. The message that is coming across therefore is, that prior to making any decision to dismiss, an employer must also take account of how public the posting was as part of their investigation. Employers should also be aware that tribunals would not look favourably at those businesses that turn a blind eye to negative comments made about colleagues, when this comes to their attention. WHAT SHOULD EMPLOYERS DO? • Ensure that your computer use policy includes the use of social media, and is circulated. • Have a right to monitor the use of your computer system, including emails and the internet. • Make clear that you will not tolerate bullying of any kind, and deal with incidences of cyber-bullying as they are reported (do not turn a blind eye). • Ensure that consideration is given to how “public” the post has gone, and the intention behind the post, in investigations and before coming to any final disciplinary decision. Contact: hrinsight.co.uk

How can HR Insight help? First Line Response: Dedicated phone number directing you to our team of HR advisors who provide over-thetelephone support, providing you with relevant letters and guidance with current issues as you require them. Employment Foundation: Advising you on contractual changes as they arise and reviewing your policies, procedures and handbooks. Drafting your contracts and consulting with your employees. HRi Consultancy: Assigned an account manager who is an HR Consultant, who you may use as your outsourced HR contact, available to be on hand to chair meetings and provide ad hoc onsite support, including investigations and implementing initiatives. e-HR & Payroll Solutions: HR data management system, managing your holidays, absence and employee history. Aligned to the system we can provide confidential payroll processing and management. Legal Team & D&O Insurance: In-house legal team, assessing your legal claims and liability, preparing and defending employment tribunal cases and drafting compromise agreements. Directors and Officers Insurance may be provided should you wish, which covers you for these claims.


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Supercharging your business Director of the Marstan Group, Stan Hornagold, says every business can boost performance and profit substantially by making a series of changes in the right order usiness owners and managers are full of energy and commitment, but the majority know instinctively that their business is nowhere near its full potential. They are also astute enough to realise that it cannot simply be explained by current economic conditions, because they can see that 5% of businesses do extraordinarily well during a recession. A Government Survey revealed that 51% of businesses acknowledged that they needed to increase leadership skills, 61% aimed to increase productivity and 66% needed to up-skill their workforce. The survey also revealed that only 33% of businesses thought that the state of the economy was an obstacle to their success. These statistics are very encouraging, because they reveal that your business is not at the mercy of external events. There are plenty of actions that you can take to protect your business from negative forces and ensure that you can generate more profit. The statistics also explain why some businesses do better than others during a recession. Successful organisations



focus on their customers and potential customers. They do not look outwards in the hope that the world will change to suit them. Instead, they constantly look for ways to improve things to enhance the quality of their service or the efficiency of their processes. As a result, these superbusinesses constantly fire on all cylinders. They concentrate on points of detail so that they win profitable business with apparent ease and manage their operations efficiently so that they do not waste their hardearned income. The inevitable result is that their profits are consistently higher than those of the average business. At first glance it would appear that there is a huge gulf between the best and the rest, but in reality it does not take a vast amount of effort to change a business for the better. Neither does it have to be done all at once, or take forever to achieve. So how can you supercharge your business? The best way is to understand how supersuccessful businesses got to where they are and resolve to develop the same attitudes and processes, suitably adapted to your own business.

At first glance it would appear that there is a huge gulf between the best and the rest

THE 10-POINT PLAN FOR SUPERCHARGING YOUR BUSINESS Among the hundreds of activities that you will have to deal with in managing your business, there are 10 points above all others that will help you to deliver the best results. 1. You need a vision and strategy – there is a much better chance of you getting to your destination and reaching your “full potential” if you know exactly where you’re going. 2. You need a business plan this sets out how you will implement your strategy and makes sure that you

in profile Stan Hornagold has managed his own businesses for more than 30 years and has specialised in helping businesses and public sector bodies to change their organisations and processes for the better.


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Supercharging your business does not mean taking radical actions or disrupting your business over a long period of time





take the many small steps to reach your destination. You must understand your finances in depth - measure everything and manage your budget wisely. You must use as many marketing channels as possible – do not restrict your efforts by concentrating on a few marketing channels that you have traditionally used. You must handle the sales process brilliantly – there is no point in attracting potential customers, only to put them off during the sales process. Your organisation structure must be as streamlined as possible – complex structures lead to poor communications and inefficiencies.


7. You must recruit the right people for the right job – make sure that the role is properly defined, make it clear what you want from the person in each role and treat your people well. 8. You must invest in the best technology available so that your people have all the tools they need to do their job efficiently. 9. You must have documented systems so that your people can deliver consistent results efficiently. 10. You must think positively and take action.

There are a number of ways to change your business; you can change the way you are structured, the way you work, the processes that you use or the technology or tools to do the job. Use the 10-point plan to identify potential changes to your business. If you would like a list of actions taken by others, download a copy of the free booklet, 100 things that successful businesses do to thrive in a downturn at www. stayoutfront.com/100success Remember – every business is capable of boosting performance and profitability substantially.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TAKING ACTION Supercharging your business does not mean taking radical actions or disrupting your business over a long period of time. Instead, you should focus on a series of planned, coherent and sensible changes, which cumulatively make a big difference to efficiency and profitability.

Contact: marstangroup.com


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Your HR Partner is a unique HR Consultancy which works together with your business to address HR issues. Whether you need help in drawing up HR Policies or Contracts of Employment; dealing with poor performance; or making redundancies we will work together with you, understanding your business issues and finding solutions. T: 020 8346 8686 E: info@yourhrpartner.co.uk W: www.skhr.co.uk

We offer friendly IT Support. We have options to suit all, from fully managed to P.A.Y.G. Other services include Google Apps and Hosted Exchange, VoIP, Mobile Comms, Data Comms and Backup Service. Clients range from single user offices to multi national corporations. T: 0330 999 1337 E: help@totallytecy.com W: www.totallytechy.com

From a single desk for one day to a whole building for 25 years Bruntwood provide office space, serviced and virtual offices, meeting rooms and retail premises throughout Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Cheshire and Birmingham. T: 0800 731 0300 E: info@bruntwood.co.uk W: www.bruntwood.co.uk

• Hosted and Fully Managed Service • Our Certified engineers provide complete management and administration service for all of your: - Hosted Servers - Hosted Applications - Hosted Database Systems • Or if you prefer - self-managed T: 01223 832227 E: sales@focusonhosting.co.uk W: www.focusonhosting.co.uk

As the UK’s longest running organisation for professional leaders, we are dedicated to supporting our members, encouraging entrepreneurial activity and promoting the highest levels of professional business conduct. T: 020 7766 8888 E: membership@iod.com W: www.iod.com

INDEZ specialises in producing high-growth, high conversion e-commerce businesses, capable of dominating niche areas and selling profitably into global markets. We offer e-commerce consultancy, e-commerce design and build and e-commerce marketing. T: 0141 204 5297 W: www.indez.com E: info@indez.com




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Bespoke HR for your business. Professional, honest and easy to understand HR consultant support and advice that suits you. Regular and ad-hoc advice to HR audit Carruthers HR can help. T: 07930153940 E: sarah@carruthershr.co.uk W: www.carruthershr.co.uk

We craft compelling websites and persuasive media strategies. Through an in-depth and collaborative process, we will discover what is unique about you, then shout it from the virtual rooftops. T: +44 20 8399 4948 E: hello@joyandrevolution.co.uk W: www.joyandrevolution.co.uk


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Affordable HR Solutions Stellarise help ambitious smaller companies become leaders in their field through the innovative use of IT. We are a leading provider of affordable IT support, effective project delivery and strategic advice. . T: 020 3137 3550 W: www.stellarise.com

Affordable HR Solutions can take care of your ad hoc people issues enabling you to focus on your core business. Visit our website to see our range of services. T: 01304 366340 W: www.affordable-hrsolutions.co.uk E: Info@affordable-hrsolutions.co.uk

Hampden provide a complete client focused IT solution tailored to your business. We provide a complete service that combines technical expertise with experience and knowledge for cost effective IT solutions. T: 01865 233000 W: www.hampdensolutions.co.uk E: sales@hsluk.com

Turner Business Consultants Ltd services are always flexible tailored to your specific needs. • Health and Safety Management • Fire Risk Assessment • CDM Coordination • Asbestos Management • Quality Management • Environmental Management • Information Technology Security • Business Continuity Plans • Business Strategy Development • Civil Engineering Consultancy services T: 01268 649006 E: info@turnerbusinessconsultants.co.uk W: www.turnerbusinessconsultants.co.uk

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KashFlow Software Limited is a privately owned company based in London, England. We provide online accounting software for small businesses owners — ­ the emphasis always being on ease of use, automation and integration. We’re widely regarded as a pioneer of the SaaS business model and as the leader in web-based accounting. T: 0800 848 8301 W: www.kashflow.com E: sales@kashflow.com

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He said she said There’s talk about tennis, unfortunate floods, and cats from our leading entrepreneurs this month. Opinions (and spelling mistakes) all their own Theo Paphitis @TheoPaphitis So a very Big Congratulations to Andy Murray watched it last night Brilliant Well Done my 2nd favourite Scotsman in danger of becoming 1st! We assume his favourite Scotsman is of course fellow Dragon, Duncan Bannatyne. Surely Murray can’t steal that title too? Peter Jones @dragonjones Not many people know retail better than @TheoPaphitis. Best interview on Sky for ages! While Theo is debating who his favourite Scotsman is, fellow Dragon Peter is buttering him up! Karren Brady @karren_brady Saturday. At my flat in London. 4 floors above me had a major flood. Total carnage. Where am I going to stay? Karren, we feel for you. Although, there’s one silver lining; an indoor pool might’ve been nice during the July heat wave!


Richard Branson @richardbranson As @ProfDavidNutt says, banning #khat is no less ridiculous than banning cats Don’t worry Richard loves cats. He’s talking about the recent UK ban of khat, the herbal stimulant. Deborah Meaden @DeborahMeaden Amazed Andy Murray slept at all let alone slept for an hour. Still feeling it today! #andymurraytop Sounds like Dragon Deborah had fun celebrating Andy’s Wimbledon win. Is #andymurraytop a drink, we wonder? Kimberly Davis @ApprenticeKim I’m such a sap. I’m crying I’m so happy for Murray and for Britain. What a monumentous win! THAT is tennis! Bravo! #wimbledon Our marketing columnist was so touched by Wimbledon, she based her column [page 65] around it this month! #love


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Music creates a better working atmosphere 77% of businesses say playing music in the workplace increases staff morale and creates a better working environment.* If you play music in your business, it is a legal requirement to obtain the correct music licences. In most instances, a licence is required from both PPL and PRS for Music. PPL and PRS for Music are two separate companies. PPL collects and distributes money for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers. PRS for Music collects

and distributes money for the use of the musical composition and lyrics on behalf of authors, songwriters, composers and publishers. A PPL licence can cost your business as little as 19p per day. For more information on how to obtain your PPL licence visit ppluk.com or call 020 7534 1070. To find out more about how music can work for your business visit musicworksforyou.com. *MusicWorks survey of 1000 people, conducted May 2012.


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Profile for Talk Business

Talk Business - August 2013  

Find out how to use Facebook for flawless promotion and read about the companies who will clean up your online identity. Plus we’ve got an i...

Talk Business - August 2013  

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